Committee on Finance. - Vote 40—Industry and Commerce (Resumed).

Wednesday, 4 May 1966

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 222 No. 7

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[1236] Debate resumed on the following motion:

That a sum not exceeding £8,966,700 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1967, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, including certain Services administered by that Office, and for payment of sundry Grants-in-Aid.

Mr. O'Leary:  The section of the Minister's introductory speech dealing with industrial relations must be considered very carefully. There is the suggestion in the preliminary part that he would set about the examination of selected firms in which industrial relations appear to be of a high standard and then consider what lessons we could learn. This is a better direction in which to go than to attempt to seek a global solution to the industrial relations problem, as apparently is being attempted by a large body. It is more important to get a good grievance procedure in operation in an individual firm to deal with employees' complaints than to attempt to find a global solution, as appears to be the idea of many people at present. Those who advocate attempting to find a global solution appear to wish to achieve this by the imposition of legal sanctions and legal penalties in the sphere of industrial relations; in other words, as that not too impartial commentator on the Government benches put it yesterday, by the rule of law operating in the sphere of industrial relations as elsewhere. I did think it was a rather unfortunate time to be talking about the rule of law. However, I want to say that this is obviously the remark of a man who has not made too deep a study of the problem. As we understand the law, the judicial concept, it is not applicable here and it will not [1237] bring any fast solutions to the problem.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  Surely it would bring some solutions?

Mr. O'Leary:  I am trying to speak as impartially as I can and from what we have read of the experiences in other countries, we see that no fast solutions have come about by the imposition of a legal frame of mind on industrial relations. If we do undertake this study of industry and of selected firms in which good industrial relations exist, we might also consider examining an area of industry in which presumably we should have good relations, that is, the State sector. However, there is an unhappy position there and industrial relations in this sector are no better than those existing in private firms. We must examine the case closely and see whether it is the case that management in State enterprises act in much the same way as management in private enterprise. Is it that State enterprise is but a pale copy of what is happening in the private sector? Would we get the type of mentality there which Deputy Booth showed yesterday? This is surely an area in which all the most up-to-date ideas could be implemented tomorrow morning with the co-operation of the trade unions.

We know that the Minister may shortly be bringing legislation before the House to deal with this matter. We know that he is toying with the idea of a court of appeal. It is only fair to warn the people—and I do this with all due respect—that the temperature in industrial relations at the moment is rather hot but it will be considerably hotter if there is any attempt to interfere with the kind of collective bargaining we have. I am thinking of the resolution passed last July by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions when it declared its opposition to any Government attempt to control collective bargaining. If anything, this attitude has become stronger and we must bear this situation in mind. If the situation before us at present is serious, it may become more serious if there is any attempt to bring in the rule of law [1238] into what is essentially an economic struggle.

The Taoiseach said recently that the class war is dead. None of us would want to see the old class war reintroduced with all its old time vigour. We must recognise that there are conflicting economic interests. The only reason for my Party being called “Labour” is in answer to this fundamental fact about our society, that there are conflicting interests in it. There are the interests of those who live on wages and salaries and those who live on dividends. This conflict is in existence in any western democracy. It is in answer to it that the trade unions exist and why a political Party like mine is in existence: to answer for and stand up for these people who live on salaries and wages. We cannot sweep this struggle under the carpet. No change in the law will sweep it under the carpet.

The greatest contribution the State can make at present to improve industrial relations is actively to inspire greater economic growth. Our fundamental criticism of the Government rests on that basis and it is in this area that the Government are failing miserably. It will be through no legal formula that better industrial relations can be brought into our society but by the fostering of better economic growth. It is noted that relations between employers and workers have a direct relationship to the country's economic system. The difficulties we face at the moment in industrial relations arise from the present economic situation. There is less of a problem when employment is expanding and when there is security of employment. In such a climate, we see industrial relations improving, but at the present time we see the situation disimproving rapidly.

What I am afraid of is that the chambers of commerce, and the other people to whom the Fianna Fáil Government listen, will panic the Government into taking measures which will make the situation irreparably worse and bring back the class war with all its old vigour. That certainly would create far more trouble and would make the events of this year seem [1239] mild in comparison with what may happen later. This warning should be given now because this Party will be considering carefully any proposals that seem to interfere with collective bargaining. The State must not interfere in this struggle which must go on in our society. If it can better our conditions of economic growth and security of employment, the conflict will certainly be reduced.

Some Deputies opposite ask why, if the Labour Government in Britain appear to be talking sense to the trade unions, can we not do that here? Do not let us mix up the systems we are talking about. In Britain we have expansion of employment, better social security than here and education free to the highest standard. Do not let us compare our social security system and the kind of life our working people have to live with those in Britain. Do not let us make the mistake either of considering there is no difference between a Labour Government in Britain talking to trade unionists and the present Fianna Fáil Government here attempting their own dialogue with our trade union movement.

I was disappointed we had not more to report for this debate. I was disappointed that so far more activity has not been registered on manpower policy, the Industrial Training Bill and all the other matters one would imagine should be uppermost in our minds at present. Admittedly, a great deal of work and consultation has been carried on by the voluntary committees with the different interested groups that had to be consulted. I hope the same painstaking attention to detail and getting the help of those involved will be gone through in any attempt to alter our industrial relations. Let us not have a cursory talk with the interests involved and then bring in a Bill that will provoke opposition. Let us have real consultation.

I mentioned yesterday that one of the problems we will be faced with on the general economic front in the area of incentives is the regionalisation we will be having in different parts of [1240] these islands. I remarked on the time lag between the lifting of the present levy imposed by Britain and the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement in general. I said it was not a matter we could feel too pleased about. I think also some people in Westminister do not appear to be too up-to-date with the terms of that Agreement. I see that one of the measures in the British Budget is the stopping of capital outflow for investment in certain selected countries. I hope the Minister will comment on this because it is bound to have a detrimental effect on some concerns here and on the expansion of economic activity here. The British Budget statement remarked that the Governments concerned had been consulted. I take it therefore that when the Minister was producing this Estimate, he was aware of this decision? I hope we will receive fuller comment before the end of this debate.

Originally I thought the last National Wage Agreement was a bold bid to inaugurate a new departure in industrial relations. I thought it was an attempt to give a new, rational deal that would represent new thinking on industrial relations. I do not blame any of the signatories to that Agreement. I think those who succeeded in preventing the possibility of any future National Wage Agreement are the present Government. The area in which they failed was in general economic policy during the lifetime of that Agreement. Their attitude to prices at that time was the wrong one—I think they will admit that now—and the kind of taxes they introduced during the lifetime of that Agreement were wrong and calculated to make it a once-and-for-all effort.

One other area in which we could help to make our small contribution to industrial relations is in the avoidance of ambiguity in Government statements on the general economic position. I refer to the kind of ambiguity that recently occurred between the Taoiseach's pronouncement of three per cent, the Labour Court guideline of £1 and the employers fiddling around in the middle. This kind of thing cannot help the situation. The [1241] Government now appear not to disagree with the latest Labour Court guideline. If this could have been said some months ago, it would certainly have saved quite an amount of industrial dispute. Certainly, if the employers' organisation could have been told this in unequivocal terms some months ago, many people would have been saved going out on the streets in pursuance of strike notice.

It is known to us that many firms were prepared to meet this increase but had received a directive from the trade union at the bottom of this industrial relations tangle, the Federated Union of Employers. This union held its members strictly to the policy line that no £1 increase was to be granted to any body of workers and are probably still persisting in being stupid. However, individual employers have told trade unions negotiating for the £1 increase that they were ready to meet it, that they thought it was a just claim but that they were not permitted by their own association, their own trade union, to do so.

I had some remarks to make yesterday on the new industrial development we had in this country, the foreign investors we had here and the kind of firms they are running. I pointed out how closely we would want to examine their economic credentials when they came here looking for tax-payers' money, that we would want to assess them carefully on their merit and to examine how they could gain new markets. I remarked that these firms appear to have little knowledge of the kind of place we in our best moments accord trade unions in this country. Many of these firms have a policy that no employee of theirs should be a member of a trade union. In Shannon Industrial Estate, one of the largest firms there has stated it does not want its employees to be members of a trade union. A sizeable portion of the taxpayers' money is going to these firms which say that no Irishman on their premises can join a trade union. We have yet to see a provision being brought in whereby before finance can be given to any of these concerns, they at least recognise [1242] the elementary right of Irish people to join a trade union and receive proper rates of pay. While the employment potential in many factories might appear to be good, many of them have female labour—girls of 17, 18, 19 or even younger—employed at very low rates. This is not the kind of employment potential we want to see in these firms.

I am glad to see that the Tynagh Mines and other concerns appear to be successfully expanding. However, I do not think the Government need be over anxious about the way they price these people for the rights they have in this country. They would want to keep a very careful eye on them. I do not know if there is a provision that the ore content be carefully checked so that the State gets its full share from the prospecting of these firms. I would like if possible to see the State take an even more active part by the formation of another State company to see that the Government had a connecting development with these firms that have received prospecting rights. It would be regrettable that the only benefit to be gained by this country from these firms should be solely the employment potential they offer. The old philosophy was to see ancillary industries grow up as a result of the original ore mining concessions to these people. I do not know if any examination or any attention has been given to this problem.

We have made no bones, in speaking of the general economic position, about our support for an incomes policy. We have made no bones either about our support for a proper price control policy. However, we have felt —and nothing has happened in the interim period which persuades us to the contrary—that the Government are not seriously intent upon introducing an incomes policy and that this has had its own consequences on industrial relations in general.

The Minister did remark in his speech than an improvement had come about in the position of prices. It is a pity that the machinery on prices which we supported and on which we produced some amendments was not [1243] introduced earlier or was not introduced at least in the last National Agreement. If it had been, the position of those who are now making this £1 compensatory claim and of those who are at present being pushed to the extent of going on strike would not be as extreme as it is.

There is nothing mysterious in the discontent that appears to have affected large sections of working people. It arises from the harsh facts of life. The cost of living has soared and wage packets have not kept pace. Housing prices have soared, and the housing situation has not improved. These people who exist on a wage packet see that it cannot purchase the same quantity of goods. That is the reason for the economic discontent. We do not have to have any surveys to find out the basic problem that is upsetting many of our people.

Sometimes we in this House are apt to be insulated against the facts of life outside and we are apt to forget the facts of the constituency support for our position in this House. However, any of us in my Party who are concerned with ordinary wage earners, both in this city and elsewhere in the country, are aware that there is deep discontent, that these people are up against the wall, and that there is a great groundswell of discontent in the country which will find outlet this year in more strikes and more disputes, unless something is done to alleviate their lot.

I do not think anyone should be under the illusion that the present claim for a £1 increase can be considered, as some people are attempting to regard it, as a tenth round. It is not. It is purely an interim supplement to compensate for the increased cost of living. The vast number of employees who in the last round achieved an improvement in their standard of living for the first time since the war are now determined that they will not return to the pre-eighth round situation, that they will hold on to their gains. If a Government cannot make the economy work to preserve the standard of living, their days are numbered. [1244] This is the feeling among the population: their standard of living must be preserved and the economy must preserve it.

Let it be remembered that the trade unions in this country have never been averse to sitting down with employers or any other agencies and discussing how the standard of living can be maintained and preserved. It will not be maintained or preserved by any kind of fiddling with the law for an easy solution on industrial relations. Our attitude to the Minister's Estimate is that while it numbers some items that are of importance, there is a suggestion among the polite sentences here on industrial relations that the real fireworks will be coming later.

Those of us who know something about the facts of industrial relations as distinct from newspaper columns, everyone who has negotiated with employers or who knows something about the problems of workers and employers, must be concerned to see that industrial relations are not made more difficult. If the present rumours circulating in this House and elsewhere about the kind of legislation which the Government intend to inaugurate have any foundation, then the few months this year will be a very mild prelude to what is going to happen later this year and next year.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  I received, I am sure in common with other Deputies, a copy of The Kerryman in my post of Tuesday last, and very instructive reading it made indeed. It dealt in its middle pages with the Irish Management Institute's Conference in Killarney, opened by the Taoiseach. I was particularly interested in a paper that Mr. James Larkin, the general secretary of the Workers' Union of Ireland, read there. I am speaking of industrial relations, taking up more or less where Deputy O'Leary left off. In this paper he gave a run-down on the present state of employer-employee relationships. He dealt with the relationship between profits and wages. He dealt with the profit motive in particular. My comment on this is that I think the profit motive is good if [1245] the profits are evenly distributed, if the profits are ploughed back into the expansion of a business or industry and if the worker gets a fair share of what increasing profits are going.

He went on to deal with the failure of trust between the parties; I assume again he was dealing with employers and employees. I agree there has been a distinct failure of trust between the two parties. The sooner we come to realise we have to encourage trust the better. He also dealt with the question of the multiplicity of unions and I think it is only fair to quote Mr. Larkin in full on this:

It is true that the multiplicity of trade unions, their overlapping and competition, give rise to difficulties, but it should be appreciated that trade unions work under very great handicaps and have to deal directly with tens of thousands of members and secure decisions, not with a small number of directors or share-holders. They strive to carry on their work in a society which is frequently prejudiced in its thinking about trade unions by the attitude of the Press and other moulders of public opinion.

I accept without qualification what Mr. Larkin has said. I would appeal to Mr. Larkin and his colleagues in the trade union movement to accept prima facie that there are too many unions. Is it not a fact that the fewer the number of unions the greater would be the strength and the bargaining power of the trade union movement as a whole? If on a shop floor there are ten unions more or less representing the same aims and objects—I think we are all agreed those aims are the betterment of wages and conditions—would it not be better to have fewer unions representing these interests? Would it not be better to consolidate and consequently present a stronger negotiating front?

I have expressed the view over the past year from time to time that one of the causes of the present difficulties in industrial relations was the declaration with regard to the constitutionality [1246] of Part III of the Trade Union Act of 1941. Part III of that Act was declared unconstitutional in the case of the NUR v Sullivan in 1947 and one of the reasons for the declaration was that it contravened the right of a citizen to associate. Fair enough possibly at the time. I want to make this point very clear now. I want to point out that in the recent case of the State (Ryan) and Quinn, the Supreme Court in giving its decision stated that the principle of law known as stare decisis no longer applies. This principle means that the Supreme Court was bound by its decisions as a result of a decision in a case handed down in 1898. According to the judgment enunciated in the Quinn case, we are now in a similar position here to that of the Supreme Court in the United States of America. The judges of that court are well known for taking a different view of similar cases which come before them from time to time. This is as it should be and our Supreme Court has now taken the same view. Legislation which was declared unconstitutional in 1947 could be viewed differently in 1966. Legislation introduced many years ago, as I have often said, can be found wanting in relation to present day needs and circumstances.

Consequently, I now suggest that the Minister could in drafting this proposed new legislation, in consultation with the FUE and ICTU, keep the words of these learned judges in mind. I shall put on the record of the House my reference. It may be of some assistance to the Minister and his advisers. He will find the matter succinctly summed up in a well-written article by Mr. Colm Gavan Duffy in the International and Comparative Law Quarterly of October, 1965. I believe this is the first time attention has been drawn publicly to the fact that the Supreme Court in this country is no longer bound by the principles of stare decisis, is no longer bound by its previous decisions. Keeping in mind that the present Supreme Court was constituted in August, 1961, any decisions before 1961 may be no longer binding.

In relation to the article I read in The Kerryman, I should like to draw [1247] attention to Dr. David O'Mahony's contribution at the Killarney Conference. Like Mr. Larkin, Professor O'Mahony knows what he is about. He said that settlements of trade disputes are not cures. Most times there are deeper problems involved and he suggested that the immediate settlement is a mere palliative; the problem, or problems, would need to be examined in depth by people skilled in the human and social sciences. Generally, they are found to be human problems. The Minister has stated this. It is a good point.

This brings me now to the constitution of the Labour Court. On 11th May last year, I spoke on this Estimate and I made it very clear then as to how I believe the Labour Court should, first, be constituted and, secondly, the type of personnel which should staff it. I do not want to repeat what I said then. Unlike Deputy O'Leary, I asked then, and I am asking now, that an element of finality be brought into the decisions of the Labour Court. I appealed to the Minister last year to give the Labour Court the status of a high court. I believe the personnel should be trained. I believe this could be a profession with opportunities for promotion within the Labour Court.

On the question of the Trades Disputes Act, 1906, the Minister says he wants to take a new look at picketing. I think it is agreed that the stage has been reached at which the status of the picket has been reduced to that of a joke. We shall come to the time when pickets will picket pickets. In my limited experience I have seen so many of these over the last six months that I have to ask whoever is with me what it is all about this time. I believe that pickets should only be used in the pursuit of a lawful strike. I make no apology to anybody for that statement. That is the only use to which a picket should be put. I make that statement without qualification. Picketing is one thing; anarchy is another.

My colleague, Deputy Booth, dealt yesterday with the centralisation and rationalisation of information in relation to grants and the obtaining of information [1248] from the various Government agencies. I agree fully with what Deputy Booth said. There is a great deal of duplication in the various agencies. With regard to Foras Tionscal, the other day I visited the office with a constituent seeking information in relation to the setting up of a small industry in Blackrock in County Dublin. I do not believe the courtesy with which I was treated would have been found anywhere else in the world. We got the information. We went in on Wednesday and my constituent is now in Paris with the Government agent there. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my thanks to Foras Tionscal.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Did they know you were a Deputy?

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  Oh, yes. I always make my position clear. In relation to our trade missions abroad, the Minister stated that he would like to hear questions asked. I have a question with regard to our Government agencies abroad. Have we got different offices operating for Aer Lingus, Córas Tráchtála, the Industrial Development Authority and other agencies? I notice we are setting up three new offices in the United States in relation to the IDA. Have we got different offices for these bodies and what is the liaison between our embassies and these bodies? I believe that our embassies will have—I do not know frankly what the position is at the moment—a much greater part to play on the trade front in the future. Somebody brought my attention to the fact that Aer Lingus and Córas Tráchtála have different offices in New York. I do not think that is altogether a good thing.

Deputy O'Leary said that his Party exists to ensure the protection of labour in this country. I would like to make it clear to Deputy O'Leary and to the Party which he represents and to other people in this House that as far as I am concerned the Fianna Fáil Party represent labour in this country, are the party of labour and have always been the party of labour.

[1249]Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Even during the Standstill Order?

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  If the Deputy had the support of all the labour unions, he would be over here and I would be over there.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  So we will.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  The day will never come. I would like to make it clear that we represent labour in this country more so than any other Party, more so than the Labour Party. They have arrogated to themselves the right to represent labour but this is a fallacy. Fianna Fáil have always represented the right of labour in this country and in this House.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Always?

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  Yes, always.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Even with the Standstill Order?

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  We can take up these matters on another occasion. Deputy O'Leary has condemned the manpower policy. The manpower policy is only now being formulated. That is progress and progress has to be made before a plan can be published. I am looking forward to the Parliamentary Secretary's contribution on this matter and I am looking forward to him laying the plans and methods by which we will pursue this policy on manpower.

I would like to say to the Labour Party that I am interested to see the name of their respected leader, Deputy Corish, put down to a motion asking for consideration of the question of more wages for the lowly-paid workers. I agree that at the other end of the scale there are discrepancies and that these people, the economic playthings of the merchant princes, the clerks in the shops and that type of person, are the people whose interests we should be protecting. I hope to make a contribution on Deputy Corish's motion.

The Free Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom had to come. Protectionism [1250] is out. You can isolate yourselves forever and eventually stagnate and die. This Agreement with the United Kingdom will provide a test before our eventual entry into EEC. I look forward to the day when we do enter into the European Community and when we are in touch somewhat more with the civilisation of the French. The French are a very civilised people and I like to think that I am a Francophile. I wish to thank the Minister for the courtesy and consideration which he has extended to me and my young colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party during the past year. He has been of great assistance to us.

Mr. T. O'Donnell: Information on Thomas G. O'Donnell  Zoom on Thomas G. O'Donnell  This is a very important Estimate and, while I am sorry that it does not provide an opportunity for a full-scale debate on the important question of manpower, I will be looking forward to a full-scale debate on that matter in the near future. The most significant thing emerging from the Minister's opening speech was that a decision has now been taken to review the work of the Industrial Development Authority. Such a review is long overdue. It is now quite obvious that the method of selection of particular industrial projects has not worked out satisfactorily. Cases like that of the Potez factory at Baldonnel show that it is essential to have a new approach, a much more scientific approach to the vetting and examination of proposals for the establishment of new industries. I welcome this review.

The Minister should have gone further and not merely confined this review of industrial promotion to the question of attracting foreign industries. There is grave necessity for a complete review and drastic changes in the whole approach to industrial development. There are a number of obvious flaws. There are far too many bodies engaged in the promotion of industry. At Government level we have three different Departments of State involved, the Department of Industry and Commerce, the Department of Transport and Power, which is responsible for the development of the Industrial Estate at Shannon Airport, and the [1251] Department of Agriculture which plays an important role in the promotion of the food processing industry. Then there are the IDA, the Industrial Grants Board and the Industrial Credit Company. I am not satisfied with this rather loose organisation and with the delegation of responsibility to Departments other than the Department of Industry and Commerce. The promotion of industry should be the function and sole responsibility of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

A second criticism I have to make of the whole approach to industrial development—Deputy Molloy referred to this matter last night—is our approach to the development of food processing industries. In view of our close proximity to the British market and of the many natural advantages we enjoy in the way of soil and climate for the production of the raw materials for food processing, it is an extraordinary state of affairs in this predominantly agricultural country that the Minister came in here and read a brief on industrial development without a single reference to the food processing industry. I personally cannot understand and cannot see any reason why that should be so. I believe there is a tremendous opening for the development of the food processing industry. I believe our ultimate entry into the EEC will open a much wider market for our products. Taking into account the success on the British market of An Bord Bainne, Erin Foods, and so on, I think our industrial policy has erred in that we have seemed to overlook this very important aspect of industrial development.

The third point to which I should like to refer is one to which I referred here on two previous Estimate debates, the size and location of industry. I pointed out here before that, from some reading and research I had done, I discovered that we are the only country in Western Europe which has not some specialised organisation or official body concerned with the promotion and development of small industries, particularly in the rural towns and villages.

[1252] Speaking on the debate on the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce on 24th June, 1964, as reported at column 817 of volume 211 of the Official Report, I referred to certain studies which had been carried out on this very important question of small industries in rural areas. I quoted from an article by Reverend Professor Jeremiah Newman of Maynooth College which was published in the Journal of the Institute of Public Administration, volume 2, No. 4. In view of the fact that a certain review of industrial development is about to take place, it might be no harm to draw the Minister's attention to this important problem. Reverend Professor Newman states, on page 17 of that Journal:

We would like to draw attention here to an important study by M. Marcel Laloire and published in October, 1961, in the International Labour Review. Its title is “Small-Scale Industry in the Modern Economy” and it is an attempt to answer the oft-asked question whether such industry can survive and perform a useful function in the world today and if so what its place should be in the economic plans of the developing countries? The answer given is of great significance for Ireland. It is that, far from being moribund, small-scale industry is a dynamic force with a valuable role to play in the modern economy.

The conclusion which Reverend Professor Newman draws is:

...from the economic as well as the social point of view, the establishment of small undertakings is often more valuable than the over-hasty establishment of huge industrial complexes, which no doubt look more impressive but draw off the labour force from rural areas and give rise to serious unbalance.

Since I spoke on that matter in 1964— I suppose I have the doubtful distinction of being the first Deputy to raise this question in the House—I am very glad to see that another study has been carried out which was published only in the past week. I am very pleased by the fact that it was published by our [1253] County Manager in Limerick, Mr. T. M. O'Connor, under the title Small Industries and Crafts. This is a very valuable document. It surveys not merely the organisation and promotion of small industries in the British Isles but throughout Western Europe. The very striking fact emerges from this study that in every single country in Western Europe, and also in the United States, and this includes the most highly-industrialised countries, there are special organisations, State and semi-State, whose special function it is to give assistance and advice to small and, in many cases, one-man and two-man industries, particularly in the rural areas.

In this country we are faced with a continual drain of people from the land. We are faced with a colossal problem of rural depopulation and flight from the land. Up to the present time, after 40 years of self-government, we have not attempted to face up to this problem. I believe that this study, carried out by the Limerick County Manager, Mr. T.M. O'Connor, must be considered by all who are concerned with the promotion of industry in this country. If other countries, even the most highly-industrialised countries, think it worth while to pay attention to this problem, then surely it is a matter to which we should give special attention.

I feel we have had a complex here in recent times in the matter of industrial development. We seem to have been concerned solely with large-scale and “the bigger the better”. I believe that our enthusiasm to get as many large-scale industries as possible established, without proper examination of the proposals, has led to the unfortunate failure of projects such as the Potez project at Baldonnel. On that particular note, I could never see on what grounds that particular proposal was sanctioned by the Industrial Development Authority. The House and the people of this country are entitled to a full and frank explanation as to the grounds on which this project was selected and on which a substantial State grant was given. It was a well-known [1254] fact in aviation circles, long before Messrs. Potez set foot in this country, that the British aircraft industry, with its long tradition, its experience, its raw materials—steel, and so on—was rapidly going downhill and, of course, we have read in recent times that even the British airways are now contemplating buying American aircraft. I should like to know the full position. I think somebody should justify how it was that Messrs. Potez came into this country to produce aircraft which the British aircraft industry, with all its technical skill and resources, was unable to produce. A bad slip-up was made somewhere. The country is entitled to an explanation as to what happened.

I appeal to the Minister, therefore, in his review of the work of the Industrial Development Authority, to give special consideration to the three points I have made: (1) various Government Departments being involved in industrial promotion; (2) the giving of special attention to the promotion and development of food processing industries; and (3) small industries in rural areas so that, now that some study has been done and information is available, we would establish here something similar to what there is in Britain, namely, the Rural Industries Bureau for England and Wales and the Northern Ireland Council for the Promotion of Small Industries. I believe that these three points should be incorporated in any new approach to industrial development.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  In the 45 years of our existence as a State, the Government to a large extent concentrated on the development of agriculture. Our social policies to a great degree were purely for the relief of the poorer classes, the small farmers and the labourers. It is only in recent times that we have got around to recognising the value of good industries in our community. We in Fianna Fáil recognise that a productive industry gives wide employment and that this employment generally activates the economy as a whole. Therefore, the Government [1255] went all out to attract new industries with a view to free trade and also to ensuring that all our eggs were not in one basket. The tremendous progress that has been made could, in my opinion, all be negatived and a lot of unemployment created through this uncontrolled scramble that is going on at present for a bigger slice of the national cake through higher wages which would only have the one effect of pricing our goods out of world markets.

The first task of the Minister, as I see it, is to continue to work fervently and strenuously towards strengthening our economy and to demonstrate to everybody the necessity for adhering to Government policy, first, on price control and secondly, on one which we dislike most of all, encouraging higher productivity among our workers, because if workers are not more productive, the only result of increased wages will be bankruptcy. We are still in the very dangerous position of paying ourselves much more than we are earning——

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Who is doing that?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  The Deputy will get it all if he has patience.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Get down to the fellows with £8 and £9 a week. We are listening to too much of that sort of thing.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  I agree with giving the fellows with £8 and £9 a week more, and if the Deputy will wait, I am getting around to them.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I will wait.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  Nobody denies that certain sections of the community are grossly underpaid.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  There are an awful lot of them.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  I agree. These are the people who are taking the brunt of every increase and every tax and not [1256] getting any of the concessions which I think they should get. On the other side of the scale, we have people who are paid far too much. I shall not go too deeply into that but we have people like small farmers and labourers and many industrial workers earning £7, £8, £9 and £10 a week——

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  And £13, £14 and £15, and still very low.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  I agree. This is what I would call shockingly below an adequate wage.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Hear, hear.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  Everybody in the House who has any responsibility towards those workers would be straining and striving to improve their lot. On the other hand, we have individuals who have been awarded pay rises greater than the total wage income of these poor industrial workers. There is something wrong here. Indeed, I take one Department in the Civil Service, Finance. To me, for what they are doing, they are being grossly over-paid. If many of these so-called experts were involved in industry or any commercial concern, I am sure they would be marching up and down outside, unemployed and looking for jobs. Certainly, I could not see any organisation tolerating what I consider to be the gross inefficiency and inadequacy of some of these people.

I suggest that some sections of the community should hold back what I consider unreasonable demands or all our plans for industrial efficiency and improved output will be of no avail. We will lose a guarantee of permanent employment and the high standard of living we have set ourselves. If that sort of unnecessary demand persists, the whole economy, in my opinion, will be undermined. Anybody who is involved in industry or in any business realises that the key to success is low industrial costs. We should all be tackling the problem of modernisation and, as the Minister said in his opening speech, availing of adaptation grants and various other schemes introduced by his Department to help the industrialists to meet what will be very severe competition under EEC.

[1257] My experience is that while there are some very efficient industries whose managements have a progressive outlook, we also have very inefficient industries whose managements have nothing but a Victorian outlook regarding the workers and markets. This is where we must really get tough. By “we”, I mean that our Party as a Government must ensure that every business organisation, whether manufacturing or distributing, must operate with 100 per cent efficiency and if necessary we should rationalise where we have a group of industries by pooling their resources in order to make them into a more viable and more productive unit.

Unfortunately, we live in what I regard as the age of grab where none of us is really patriotic enough to exercise voluntary discipline which would enable us to overcome the present economic difficulties. If we had this sort of patriotism, we would be doing what the men of 1916 would have wished us to do when they died to give us this opportunity. I hope we never get to the position here which they seem to have reached in England at the moment where everybody is looking for a shorter working week and where in actual fact they are only working half-an-hour less than in 1938. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that it is not a shorter working week they want but more uneconomic overtime at increased rates. I urge the Minister to keep a very close eye on that sort of situation if it arises here because, in my opinion, nothing but disaster can come of it.

Another thing which has irritated me more than slightly since I became involved in industry and especially in dealing with trade unions is the number of foreign-based trade unions. Where is Larkin's cry of “OBU”—one big union? Have we forgotten all about that? We have forgotten about this cry. Is there any other country in the world that would tolerate a position in which the workers were controlled externally? I do not think so. I could not see Britain tolerating it.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The Deputy is talking nonsense.

[1258]Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  In what way am I talking nonsense?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Because the men have free choice to do what they like.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  Does the Deputy see nothing wrong in foreign-based unions controlling our employees?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  They are not controlling our employees. If they were, I would, but they are not.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  They are.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Give me an example.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  The Deputy knows as well as I do that foreign trade unions are controlling the employees of this country.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  They are not.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  What about Larkin's cry for one big union? You are the Leader of the Labour Party.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  What about it?

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  How far has it gone?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Tell us about the foreign control.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  The Deputy will have plenty of time to speak later on.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Deputy Crowley is in possession.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  He is in an awkward position.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  Where else in this world would that position be tolerated?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Give us an example. Do not be generalising.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  Where else would the position be tolerated that workers would be controlled from outside the country? I could not see it happening in Britain.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Members of Fianna Fáil——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is entitled to make his speech without these interruptions.

[1259]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  If he makes a direct challenge to us here, I am not going to wait until I make a speech to answer him.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  I am sorry if I hurt unduly the members of the Labour Party but the truth goes deep and possibly hurts. The point made by Deputy Andrews about trade offices was very relevant.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I am glad the Deputy has got away from trade unions. He does not know what he is talking about.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  As far as possible, we should try to have all our offices under one roof. If we are to be thrifty and economical, the example should come by utilising to the best advantage one office for the promotion of all our activities, whether as an embassy or as a trade office.

I should like to compliment the Minister on the very fine trade agreement which he ensured for us, in his Department, in industry. We were very fortunate in the sense that he was able to get us ten years to dismantle our tariffs before having to face the fierce competition from Britain which we will have to face. In the meantime, we have our chance to prepare and to make ourselves more efficient, more modern and to adapt ourselves into proper viable units. I take the opposite view to that expressed by one member of the Labour Party who told us during the debate on the Free Trade Agreement that there would be industrial graveyards all over the country. Of course, we in Fianna Fáil always have had complete confidence in the Irish worker. Again, as Deputy Andrews has said, we are the Party who represent the Irish worker. We know the Irish worker is quite capable of rising to the occasion and meeting the challenge from abroad. When free trade comes, rather than being in a position of inferiority, we will be in a position of at least equality, and in some cases superiority, with our fine labour force.

I should like to conclude by praising [1260] the Minister for his acknowledgment of a suggestion of mine in regard to co-operation in the matter of exports when he says at page 18 of his brief:

Joint action in such matters as rationalisation of production and export marketing can contribute materially to the building up of the competitive capacity of Irish industry.

I would endorse that completely.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  It was you who proposed it.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  The Deputy will have plenty of opportunities to speak.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Order.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  I am only an ordinary Deputy, not the leader of a Party.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  You should not be so modest. You said you gave the Minister this idea. Now you are only endorsing it.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  This is definitely a step in the right direction. I would even go slightly further. I would set up a marketing organisation in this country of professional salesmen, capable of going out into any country in the world and selling our products. I have said this before. There is a big difference between selling and marketing. For too long it has been the privilege of the favoured director to be sent to Spain, America or Africa to see if he can sell products there. It is not selling; it is just a paid holiday bonus for the director. The Government should step in and set up this type of sales force whereby our products will at least be assured of getting the proper sales push which in many cases they are not getting at the moment.

I should like to thank the Minister for the courtesy with which he has always received me. We have had our arguments from time to time on certain matters but I have always found his advice very beneficial. I can assure him that with all my power I shall do my best in my constituency to ensure that all industries recognise what his [1261] Department is trying to do in equipping themselves for free trade.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): I have read the Minister's speech of 34 pages, which covers a certain amount of ground, but, for 34 pages, could have been a little more factual. The Minister did tell us that during the past year there were established 47 new industries, representing a capital investment of £18.5 million and employing, it is hoped, 5,400 persons and that foreign participation in that capital is 60 per cent. He told us that, from 1959 to the present, new industries totalling £74 million had been established, giving employment to 35,000 persons and that foreign capital participation was 80 per cent.

I find it difficult to reconcile this information which he gives us so readily here with a reply I got or, rather, a reply I did not get in the House some couple of months ago. When I asked for some information as to the amount of foreign capital invested for industrial development purposes, I was told the information was not available. Yet, shortly before that time, the Minister's counterpart in the North of Ireland was able to state the amount of capital invested even by a specific country in the North of Ireland.

It seems to me to be important that we should have that information. Every country has a pretty shrewd idea of the amount of such foreign capital and how it is disposed of. It is extraordinary that we here do not seem to have that information readily available. Not alone should we know how much foreign capital is invested in industry but how much capital is invested in foreign ownership, participating in our ordinary property. We all remember Deputy Dillon saying in this House not long ago that only one hotel in this city still remained in Irish hands. If that is true, it is something with which the Government should acquaint themselves. Every country is alert to that situation and while most undeveloped countries—I hope I will not have bricks thrown at me if I call this an undeveloped country—wish to get in capital for investment purposes, no country likes capital to come in for other purposes.

[1262] A country which is particularly sensitive to the import of capital, because its neighbour is the United States, is Canada. For years, the Canadian banks have been drawing attention to that particular aspect of Canadian economy. Therefore I fail to understand why we do not have the type of information which I sought in a Parliamentary Question some months ago.

The Minister in his address went on to deplore the fact that when an industry is shut down undue publicity is given to that fact. That is something that is unavoidable and although it may sound bad from the propaganda point of view, it is something that the public will always be told about as long as we have a free Press operating in our society. There is nothing wrong in knowing these things and there is nothing very wrong in giving them publicity. We cannot behave in an ostrich-like fashion and pretend that the economy is well by merely not adverting to the failures which we will inevitably meet. At the same time, although the Minister appears to deplore the undue publicity given to these industrial failures, I put down a Parliamentary Question on one occasion and asked the Minister to give me a list of concerns which had folded up and which had received Government money over any specific period. Again I got the answer that no record was kept of these failures. That seems to be an extraordinary position. We do not seem to have adequate information either in regard to foreign capital invested in industrial developments, nor to have records about industrial failures over any specific period, even though some of these failures have involved loss to the rate-paying and taxpaying public.

The Minister then goes on to discuss the necessity for a reappraisal of our incentive system. These are the incentives to industry which were established under the inter-Party Government, mainly by Deputy Sweetman, and which are still in operation. I presume they have changed a little down the years but basically the position is the same. They are incentives given largely to promote exports. It is true [1263] that most of the industries which have started here in the past few years have been mainly geared to the export business. The new approaches which the Minister has laid down are the setting up of industrial estates, one, I understand, in Waterford and the other in Galway. His second line of approach is the institution of a manpower policy which he has largely handed over to his Parliamentary Secretary. His third line of attack is the re-examination of the educational system and his fourth line is in regard to advisory services to be procured from some foreign firm of consultants. He has not told us who the foreign consultants are to be but I understand that he is bringing in such a firm to advise him on what further measures are to be taken.

Apart from that, he is going to undertake a survey of the various grant-aided firms in the country. I suggest that, in addition, he might extend his survey to include some of our semi-State organisations who dispose of such a large part of our Exchequer money and who engage extensively in economic activities. I did not gather from his brief whether he intended to cover semi-State bodies or merely intended to deal with commercial firms which had received grants. I should like him in his reply to say whether he intends to extend that survey to semi-State bodies. I should also like him to tell us when the report of such a survey would be available.

He suggested that we must have a more selective approach to the type of industries we establish here. I agree with that. That is not new. I would remind the Minister, if he does not already know, that many years ago Cumann na nGaedheal—believe it or not, despite all Fianna Fáil propaganda —did have an industrial policy. It was quite simple. They did not believe in the wholesale protection in which Fianna Fáil believed in those days. They believed in giving protection to certain selected industries. They had three criteria on which they based their selection. First, the product would be something which would have a commercial usage generally in the country; secondly, the industry would give [1264] a fair measure of employment; thirdly, it would use a native raw material. These fundamental criteria are still good and I would recommend them to the Minister.

It is a pity they were ever departed from and that we indulged in a policy of complete protection, in which we built up tariff walls and were prepared to produce everything from a needle to an anchor, irrespective of whether the commodity had any prospect of economic viability in our small society or not. I could mention numerous articles which we attempted to produce here and which I believe we should never have touched. One article the Minister will readily know about is catgut, which we attempted to produce here not too well but which we have now ceased to produce. I am sure there must be many other articles of a like specialised nature which we tried to produce under the protection policy pursued for so many years by the Fianna Fáil Government.

I was pleased to hear the Minister's statement that we were likely to be the third largest producer of barytes in the world. Not alone was I pleased but I was rather astonished. That is a tremendous claim to make and a terribly important claim. It would seem that our present success as regards minerals is largely due to the increase in the world prices of these commodities, so that it may be economically possible to produce these minerals here, even though they may not be plentifully disposed in our mines. But if world prices begin to fall and the concentration of minerals is not sufficient, that makes mining expensive and then the outlook would be less optimistic.

I would have wished that the Minister had given us some indication as to whether there was a sufficient concentration of these minerals in the mines he mentioned, such as those at Tynagh and those in my own locality at Silvermines and outside Tipperary town, as to make any risk of failure in the future rather remote. If there is good concentration, the mine will be profitable, but if the concentration is not good, the mine will be profitable [1265] only so long as world prices remain high. The Minister has given us no indication as to the results of the surveys made to date of these mines. Maybe that is a trade matter which it is not desirable to publicise. But if he is in a position to give us any specific data I would be particularly interested in the outlook for those in County Tipperary.

In a more exotic context, the Minister went on to deal with the question of drilling in the Atlantic for oil. He told us legislation would shortly be introduced so that he could issue permits to have the Atlantic Shelf drilled for oil. I would like to know from him if he has had many applications for licences for this particular type of work and, if he has, why this legislation has been so long delayed. We are all aware of the tremendous amount of capital expended by the international oil companies drilling for oil in the North Sea. I think this Geneva Convention was held three or four years ago. If there were possibilities in that direction, why are we only now introducing legislation to implement and ratify that Convention when we could have presumably introduced it two or three years ago? If there were any possibilities in this oil exploration along the coastline, it is a pity steps were not taken at an earlier stage to introduce the legislation mentioned by the Minister.

At least two Deputies—one Fianna Fáil and the other Labour—mentioned the putting of a Government nominee on the boards of commercial bodies, particularly new enterprises which are in receipt of large Government grants. The idea was to place them there as watchdogs to see that the money was properly spent. It is possibly an idea worth examining. I have no fixed notions on the matter. It is a matter that could profitably be discussed. I am sure it is a matter to which the Minister and his predecessors have already given some attention. There must be some pretty sound reason why in the past this was not done, so to speak, as routine. There may be pretty strong opposition from the particular industries started if they are told: “You will get a grant but you will have [1266] to have a Government nominee on your board.” The speakers who advocated it did not develop the subject very fully. Perhaps the Minister when replying would give us his comments on it?

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  There is not much development to be done on that subject. It is a simple, straightforward question.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): Is it? As I say, I have no firm ideas on the matter. I was probing to see if the Minister would give his personal views on it.

The Minister dealt with industrial relations. Again, just as he did in the case of industrial failures, he appeared to dislike the notion of the publicity which our not-too-good industrial relations are receiving. He mentioned that the bad news always gets the headlines. There is nothing new in that. In every country in the world a strike will get the headlines, and the bigger it is, the more headlines it will get. It is community news. This is something quite inevitable. We must not infer from that that our industrial relations are not as bad as they appear. I think they are quite bad. Some figures were given here by Deputy O'Higgins from the International Labour Office which dealt with last year. He pointed out that we had lost more man days through industrial disputes than any other country in Europe. That situation is bad enough.

Then the Minister goes further and tries to put the blame on the trade unions in so far as he states that the trade unions ask for increases which tend to put up prices and then they ask somebody else to control the prices. That is a glib, naïve way of putting it. I do not think the answer is as simple as that. Nobody disputes the fact that increased wages and salaries do tend to raise prices, especially if production does not keep pace with the increases. However, in the circumstances of this country, the grievances have not arisen solely from that. The bad industrial relations from which we are now suffering have arisen largely from the fact that no attempt [1267] was made to control prices and until last October the matter was dismissed entirely on the opposite side of the House as being impracticable, as something that was only to be considered as a war-time measure. Yet the same Minister wishes to arrogate to himself some of the credit for keeping the consumer price index almost as it was for the past 12 months.

If some measure of price restraint was in operation in the past 12 months and if that has been the cause of keeping our cost of living figure down, surely it could have operated in previous years and it could have operated, as it appears to operate now, without causing any terrible upheaval? I do not see the country flooded with inspectors; it seems to be operating relatively smoothly and I do not hear any complaints. How effective it is we can only judge with the passage of another six or 12 months. Certainly it does not seem to have occasioned all the difficulties which we were given to understand it would create.

Another cause of industrial unrest is that when increases were given, they were given for political and not for economic reasons. The increases given have been given at a time before elections. In the British Budget introduced yesterday, I understand there were no great taxation increases. Would that happen here? The position here has been quite the reverse. Everything is grand when we are facing an election and when the election is over, then the Budget blows begin to descend one after another. The British Budget has not been a very oppressive Budget, but if the Party opposite had been in the same position as the British Labour Party were in, they would have gone to the people and then, having got in, introduced their oppressive Budget.

A further cause of industrial unrest here is that increases were given on a percentage basis. This meant that those of the upper income bracket got sufficient money as a hedge against inflation, but the increases given to the lower income group did not act as a hedge against inflation. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. To this [1268] must be added the fact that status increases came at a very inopportune time.

The Minister has promised us legislation dealing with industrial relations. He intends to extend the powers of coverage of the Labour Court. I do not know whether it was in this House or elsewhere a statement was made to the effect that the conciliation and arbitration machinery which has been in operation for a number of years for the Civil Service will be scrapped and that the Labour Court will deal with disputes in that sector of the economy in the future. He mentioned the question of introducing what he called binding arbitration on a voluntary basis. I understand by that that people in dispute would submit themselves to the Labour Court and agree to be bound by the findings of the Labour Court. I do not know whether that would operate effectively or not.

The Minister has promised us a revision of the 1906 Trade Disputes Act. He has dealt in a very skimpy fashion with these matters and expects to deal with them in more detail in the future. Probably he is doing as the Taoiseach publicly stated he was doing, reading his Hansard and watching very carefully the legislation being considered and developed to deal with industrial relations in Great Britain. When Great Britain has done his thinking and has formulated legislation to suit her economy, we shall probably find that the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his colleagues will introduce a draft of that legislation for Irish consumption. I have not seen a copy of the British Bill but I must try to get my hands on it. I am sure that when the Minister introduces his Bill here it will be almost a carbon copy. So much of our legislation here—and I speak not only of Industry and Commerce but also of the Department of Finance—seems to be cogged from British legislation, that I can anticipate a similar “cog” being done by our very estimable Minister for Industry and Commerce to deal with our industrial problems here.

[1269] At all events, I should like to ask the Minister when he intends to bring in his proposals. Will he bring them in this session or will he bring them in after the summer recess? I would suggest he should bring them in early because our industrial position here is by no means a happy one, and if his proposals are to be of any use, as I hope they will be, the sooner we have them laid before us the better, in order to give both sides of the House an opportunity of discussing them.

As I came in, I heard Deputy Crowley remark that we had been too preoccupied over the years with agriculture to give any proper attention to industrial development. I do not know about our being too preoccupied with agriculture or too predisposed towards agriculture but certainly Deputy Crowley must not have read the history of Fianna Fáil in the Thirties when he makes a statement of that kind. Without in any way wanting to depreciate the importance of the Minister's office and of industry, since it is of great importance in providing some opportunity for expanding employment, the fact is agriculture is still the basic economy here. It is a pity that we are following the same pattern as other countries. The numbers employed in agriculture are falling. That makes it very important for us to keep on striving to establish the industrial arm in order in some measure to control and keep within some limits the emigration which has continued unabated since the State was founded. We are the only white country in the world with a declining population.

One hears city and townspeople remarking that farmers are paid too much in the way of subsidy and grant and are given too much aid by the Government. I am sure these people were making this comment when they saw the farmers last week, yesterday and the day before parading outside Leinster House. This is a country with a small population and with a small home consumption. It is very sensitive to its import-export position. The Minister for Transport and Power described the country as import sensitive. That may not have been the exact phrase he used but that is what he intended to convey.

[1270] The importance of agriculture in our export position as compared with industry lies in the small import content of our agricultural exports. It is not easy to analyse the trade figures published month by month. I do not know if they have ever been expertly analysed on this basis. I put down a Parliamentary Question last March dealing with the 1965 figures. I already had the 1964 figures. In 1964 our imports were £16 million and our exports £125 million. Our industrial imports were £195 million and our exports £77 million. In other words, in order to secure £125 million of exports, all we had to import was £16 million of agricultural goods whereas, to secure £77 million of industrial exports, we had to import £195 million of industrial imports. During that year subsidies and Government aids to agriculture amounted to £50 million. Payments by the Government to industry amounted to £65 million.

There is a notion abroad that the only people subsidised are the farmers. In fact, the most highly subsidised section is the industrial section. In the reply I got last March, our total exports for 1965 amounted to £371 million. Of that agricultural imports for further production amounted to £17.8 million. Exports from agriculture amounted to £121.6 million. Our industrial imports for further production, mark you, amounted to £201.7 million, giving us an export figure of only £81.4 million; £16 million of our exports are not classified. There was also £61.3 million worth of imports classified as capital goods ready for use. I cannot apportion these as between agriculture and industry but I would hazard a guess that of that £60 million more went to industry in the shape of machinery and so on for factories than went to agriculture on the farms.

These figures are striking. They should be studied by every city and town dweller. When the people who are our primary producers, the producers of the goods with very little import content, come walking around this city looking for a couple of pence extra for their milk, the justice of their case and the importance of their economy [1271] should be appreciated by every Deputy in this House and every citizen outside it.

During 1965 the total aid to agriculture—this is the information supplied in answer to a Parliamentary Question on 31st January, 1965—was estimated at £51.9 million. The total aid to industry during that year was £57.5 million. The position is that industry is more heavily subsidised than agriculture, according to the Government's statistical returns. Furthermore, agriculture is still our biggest export in terms of money. It is a pure export with very little import content. Cattle and so forth cost us very little to produce. It is of tremendous importance to a country so sensitive as we are at the moment to our balance of payments position. We have an import excess which has got steadily worse every year, particularly in the past five or six years, in contrast with a country like the United States of America, which has an export excess. I am speaking about merchandise. It is because of the fact that we have an import excess that the agricultural economy is so important. It is a first-class export, with a very small import content. Our agricultural exports in 1965 amounted to £120 million and for that we had to pay out only £17.8 million in imports. To secure industrial exports of £81 million, we had to import commodities to the value of £201 million.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Tom J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Tom J. Fitzpatrick  (Dublin): What about the increased employment?

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): I have mentioned that. While I have stressed the importance of endeavouring to establish industries here, and it is imperative that we make every effort to do so, we must not forget the fact that we are establishing them on the back of the agricultural community. We must not lose sight of the fact that six, seven, eight, or nine counties in this country represent the backbone of our agriculture and that agriculture is the backbone of the Irish economy.

[1272]Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. S. Flanagan): Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  In his opening speech, the Minister briefly reviewed the progress made in recent months in the implementation of the manpower policy. I propose now to expand on the information given by him so as to bring the House up to date. I do not suppose it is necessary to give what Deputy Andrews described as a dissertation. I take it that at this stage the implications of the manpower policy are understood fully by the Members of the House and that they realise we are concerned primarily with effect rather than cause. It is with the measures we must take to deal with the effects in regard to changes in our employment structure that I am specially concerned with.

Proposals for the initial development of the placement functions of the employment services have been discussed with the Manpower Advisory Committee and we are now taking steps to implement and develop these proposals. A start is to be made in some of the main centres, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford. There was general agreement in the Committee that in the beginning it would be a mistake to locate the placement functions in premises other than those at the existing employment exchanges. The Committee recognise the fact that for some time the main placement activities will be devoted towards dealing with those in receipt of either unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance.

We believe that placement activities would suffer if workers had to go from one building to another to avail themselves of benefit and to another to avail themselves of the placement service. It has already been pointed out that separate and attractive accommodation will be provided in the existing buildings and staffed with specially trained staff. The selection of the special staff for this purpose is being conducted at the present time and it will be the aim of this staff to keep much more detailed records of the qualifications of unemployed workers and to establish closer contact with employers about the employment situation in their various firms.

[1273] I hope to have these improved facilities for placement in operation before the end of the present year. I should like to state that the steps we have now taken have been taken with an open mind and that we will be prepared, with time and experience, to consider whatever changes in the present structure we may consider necessary. The present developments have been made possible by reason of the fact that we did not have to wait for the creation of a separate Department of Labour.

With regard to redundancy payments, I think it right to say that this whole subject is not, in my opinion, always taken in its proper perspective. There is a lot of ill-founded and exaggerated talk about the likely extent of redundancy. We have to face up to the fact that redundancy may arise because of economic or technical changes but the overall impact on the employment situation should be small. Having said this for the purpose of putting the whole question in its proper perspective, I must immediately add that it would be poor comfort to the workers involved who find themselves redundant. The House accepts, and I know, that where redundancy threatens, measures to alleviate the likely distress are desirable and necessary. I hope and believe that employers will take whatever steps they can to minimise the effect of redundancy and, in consultation with the trade unions, curtail actual dismissals by various well-known methods such as early retirements, transfers and by waiting for the effect of normal wastage.

The scheme, as we envisage it, will be designed to meet the cases where such dismissals cannot be avoided and where the workers' jobs have ceased to exist. Our scheme will be designed to provide financial assistance during the period between dismissal and the worker finding alternative employment. We hope to have the scheme as broad as possible in scope, although it may be necessary to prepare special schemes for certain industries. The scheme, as I have already indicated, will provide for the payment of a lump sum and [1274] also a weekly payment, and in our circumstances, which are rather different from those in Britain, I think it right that the emphasis should be not on a large lump sum but on weekly payments representing a substantial proportion of pre-redundancy wages for as long a period as possible.

The amount and duration of the payment in any particular case will be regulated by the length of service and the level of wages enjoyed by the worker immediately prior to the loss of his employment. The negotiations in regard to the actual form of the scheme have been going on continuously now for several months. Indeed, some criticism has been levelled at us because of the fact that these discussions have taken so long. The truth is that we had a draft scheme ready late in 1965 and could have gone ahead with the preparation of legislation at that time but the view was expressed in this House, as well as outside, that it would not be desirable to introduce such an important piece of legislation, without previously having had full consultation with both sides in industry. For this reason, I referred the matter to the Manpower Advisory Committee and, on completion of consideration by them some weeks ago, forwarded the amended draft to other interested bodies for their consideration. The moment these considerations are completed, the necessary draft Bill will be prepared.

I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the members of the Advisory Committee, who are drawn from representatives of the employers and of the workers, for the time they devoted to the consideration of this matter in particular, in the course of the past few months, during which each individual on that Committee had a very great deal of work to do in other fields.

The only open adverse criticism of our known proposals that I have heard to date concerns the intention to charge a proportion of the weekly payment to the worker. I feel, in this connection, that there may be some misunderstanding in the House and outside it with regard to the extent of the burden involved. In fact, we are talking [1275] about pennies and, even for a lowly-paid worker, a few pennies by way of contribution per week does not seem to me to be a factor. In saying this, I think it only right to point out that the burden that will fall on the State with regard to other aspects of the implementation of the manpower policy will be very considerable. This is in regard to the improvement of the placement service, the establishment of a manpower forecasting service and the setting up of industrial training facilities. Subject to what I shall have to say a little later, all the cost in these major developments will be borne by central funds. In these circumstances, I hope the House will agree that the proposal that a worker should contribute a matter of pennies towards the cost of a scheme which, when in full operation, will give considerable benefit to the worker is reasonable.

I think Deputy Tully and others have dealt with industrial training in the course of this debate. This is not surprising since industrial training is such a vital aspect of manpower policy. One specific question Deputy Tully asked was whether this Bill will be designed to cover agricultural employment. The answer to that is “No”. Training for agriculture is at present conducted under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture and it is not proposed to interfere with that. The Bill, I am happy to say, has now been forwarded for printing and circulation and should be in the hands of Deputies in a week or ten days. It is therefore not necessary for me to say a great deal about what will be in the Bill since Members of the House will have an opportunity of seeing it for themselves in such a short time.

I think the House knows that the Industrial Training Bill will provide for the establishment of an industrial training authority with very wide powers to deal with all aspects of industrial training and retraining. This authority will be responsible for taking over from An Cheard Comhairle, for apprenticeship training, the training of operatives, adult retraining to skilled level by accelerated vocational training methods and the retraining of redundant [1276] workers who have the necessary aptitude to acquire new skills. The authority will deal also with the training of workers whose skills need to be improved or brought up-to-date; the training of agricultural workers who desire to leave that occupation for other occupations. It will deal also with the advance training of workers for new industrial projects.

I mentioned earlier that, in the main, the cost involved will be borne by the Exchequer but there will be provision in the Bill designed to ensure that the cost of training in particular industries may be shared out among employers involved in these industries. The authority will also have power to charge fees for special training services for individual employers who require their services.

I think also the House will agree with the scope of the Bill. Here again, it is one which required very lengthy consultation before its final form could be decided. Those who are familiar with the workings of Government will realise that a Bill such as this, which proposes to set up an authority of this kind, involves many Departments besides the Department of Industry and Commerce.

I now turn to the matter of vocational guidance, a subject with which I dealt very fully in the course of a Seanad debate a couple of months ago. I think that on that occasion I gave rather a wrong impression about my own thoughts and feelings in regard to it. The reason for this was that so far as vocational guidance of school-children is concerned, it is and will remain primarily a matter for the Department of Education.

The fact that I dealt rather briefly with this vital subject in the course of that debate is not to be taken as evidence of any lack of interest in the fate of the younger children concerned. On the contrary, nobody appreciates more clearly than I do the fact that so many children launch themselves out on a course educationally or otherwise at the age of 12 or 13 without sufficient thought on the part of their parents, teachers and themselves, a course which in many instances [1277] leads them to a dead-end five or six years later.

It will be a responsibility of the Manpower Authority to keep an eye on developments so far as this aspect is concerned because, while the guidance itself should be provided by the Department of Education, we in the Manpower Authority have a vital stake in the results of their efforts since we shall have to cope with the end product at the age of 18, 19 or 20. On the other hand, we recognise that we shall have responsibility so far as adult workers are concerned because they look for more suitable employment or would like to have their skills upgraded and would like to know the outlets for these skills. We intend to provide through an improved placement service training facilities to enable these adults to achieve their proper place in society. This is a problem of great complexity and in thinking of it, it seemed advisable that we should get the services of a trained psychologist. We are therefore considering recruiting an industrial psychologist for the Manpower Agency to perform a number of tasks, including the one I have just mentioned, of developing a vocational guidance service for adults within the improved employment service.

Next, I should like to say a few words about our efforts to date in the most vital of all aspects of manpower, namely, the provision of a suitable forecasting service. Everybody recognises the necessity for looking into the future to see what likely changes there will be but it is an extremely complex and difficult task and the statisticians we require are not available in this country. So, at present, consultations are going on between the Manpower Authority and the British Department of Labour and also with OECD in regard to the filling of that void. We need, initally at any rate, to set out our basic assumptions and agree on them and to have the services of a trained man who will show us how to set up the forecasting structure. Since I am aware that there is a similar lack in certain advanced educational establishments in this country, it may be [1278] possible for the services of the person or persons I mentioned to be shared between the Manpower Authority and those institutions because it is obvious —and this was pointed out by Senator Garret FitzGerald during the debate I mentioned—that if we are to be able to secure the services of the experts we need, we shall have to pay a very high price to get them because at present there is a worldwide shortage of statisticians and of professors of statistics. There is an acute shortage especially in Great Britain.

The field, of course, which this covers is very wide—decisions about education, training, housing, population movement and so on. Other countries, while recognising the very wide margin of error involved in any form of forecasting, realise at the same time how important it is that the forecasts be made. It is obvious from what I have said that it will be quite a long time before we can build up a forecasting system as sophisticated as what other countries have but in the meantime we must make the best effort we can and the best use of the resources we now have available or that we can acquire.

I have previously mentioned in speaking here the fact that we need the support and co-operation of both sides in industry—an expression I dislike using, although it seems to have crept inexorably into our language recently, as if, basically, everybody concerned is not part of a unit, part of an organisation with a common object. We do need the co-operation especially of employers in regard to the likelihood of redundancy, the provision of all available information to enable us to give the maximum help to a person likely to be made redundant in the future. This co-operation in an early warning system is equally vital to the success of our plans for an improved placement service.

In conclusion, I should like to compliment the Minister on his proposal to have a re-assessment and reappraisal carried out in regard to the structure of industrial grants and loans. I hope that in the course of the reappraisal special consideration will be given to those parts of the west of Ireland which as yet have failed to [1279] secure any worthwhile industrial employment and which are at the same time made up of small farm holdings where farming should by right be a part-time rather than a full-time occupation. I appreciate that this is a very difficult subject and one where I feel any help we could get from the consultant would be very well worthwhile because the pattern of industrial development has been uneven and this has not been due to any fault of the Government or of the attractions offered but to other factors, some of which may very well be insoluble. So far as I am concerned, I will be satisfied only when it is apparent that every possible effort has been made to attract industrial employment to some of these areas now in dire need.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  First, I should like to ask the Minister the loss to the State from industrial accidents and illnesses as compared with the loss to the State from strikes. If the Minister can supply that information, it will be obvious that for every 18/- or 19/- lost to the State from industrial illness or accident, there is only 1/- or 1/6 lost to the State from strikes. Too much publicity has been given in our national press to industrial unrest. That publicity is certainly unwarranted.

On the question of industrial relations, I should like to refer to the Government's argument that we could not afford more than a three per cent increase. The workers are a little more articulate now and they want to know how these experts arrived at their figures of gross national product and at their concept of productivity because the belief is that they may be as wrong here as they have been in most other matters. It is very easy for experts to say that the workers cannot ask or expect more than a three per cent increase while they themselves have jacked up their own salaries and literally hide behind this economic jargon of theirs.

There is considerable talk about workers expecting too much but they can only gauge whether they are or not by the fact that the average wage [1280] in Dublin city will not be accepted by building societies or by local housing authorities for loans for the purchase of houses. It must be obvious, then, that the wages workers are receiving are not adequate to meet the present high cost of living.

On this question of industrial relations, we need re-education and reorganisation of industrial management. This is where the problem lies. Any action which may be taken to limit the rights of workers will be opposed very vigorously by our Party.

On the question of industrialisation, I should like to say that the use to which the investment is being put is likely to damage the national economy very much. I looked at some figures recently and saw that there were 154 industries established here since 1955 and that 78 of these were producing luxury or non-essential goods and of the rest, only two were what might be called basic or foundation industries, namely, industries which would create accessory industries. That is where our industrial programme has gone haywire. There has been no basis of selection of the industries we have enticed to our country. I do not think that a sound industrialisation programme can be developed from such a flimsy foundation as we have at the present time. The entire list shows that we have no clear or long-term policy about industrialisation. It is little wonder that so many industries have folded up since 1958. For a worthwhile industrialisation programme, we need to think long and hard about the kind of industrialisation we want, our ability to achieve our objectives and to provide the means of achieving our aims. All this must be based on a realistic assessment of our capabilities.

Anyone who understood industry well would laugh at the list of industries which have been established in this country. They are as extraneous to this country as the aborigines would be. They have no place whatsoever in our country. Proper attention has not been paid to developing a proper industrialisation programme. Each industry [1281] that is established should attempt to have ancillary industries around it. This is the only way in which we can have a proper industrialisation programme. It is the aim of the Government to produce a proper industrialisation programme but they are not achieving it at the present time. We must also think in terms of providing a high proportion of male labour. This certainly is not included in the present industrialisation programme of the Government.

Every new industry which is attracted to this country should be given proper aid but there should be participation in the industry by Irish nationals. Irish nationals should be on the boards of the industries. This is very essential before we can consider attracting more people to the country. We have failed miserably in this regard by not insisting that Irish nationals should be on the boards of some of these companies.

One matter that concerns the Minister's Department is the question of helping exporters. I want to refer just a few cases to him. Every encouragement should be given to exporters and there should be a simplification of export documents. Recently a firm which exports sheepskins informed me of the details required by the Department of Industry and Commerce in connection with the export of these skins. The Department insists that their representative must swear before a peace commissioner the number of skins they export. The delays and difficulties put in the way of this company by the Department make it almost impossible for this company, or a company of this type, to carry on business. The Minister should pay particular attention to this and try to streamline his Department.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  The export of sheepskins would be a matter for the Department of Agriculture.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Department of Industry and Commerce issues the licence and lays down the conditions. Will the Minister deny that it is a matter for his Department?

Acting Chairman (Mr. P. O'Donnell): Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  It would be far better to leave the [1282] matter to the Minister when he is replying than to argue it across the House.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Minister attempted to contradict me and I know that he is wrong. It is a matter for his Department because they issue the licence. The Minister should facilitate exporters in every possible way if we are to encourage more and more exports.

We in the Labour Party are ever conscious of the fact that the workers must be protected and it was amusing to us to hear a member of the Fianna Fáil Party proclaim that his Party are the Labour Party in the country. It will be a source of amusement to the workers when they take into account the fact that it was the Fianna Fáil Party who were responsible for the Standstill Orders. It was the Government Party who said that we could not afford more than a three per cent rise and the Labour Court issued a recommendation to the effect that employers grant a £1 increase. I do not think the Government could honestly claim to be acting in the interest of the workers if they think that three per cent is adequate, or that we could not afford more than three per cent. If they persist in this attempt to restrain workers from making just claims, they will do a lot of harm because it has become known that the dividends of those companies which are compelled to publish their accounts were very high last year. There is no justification for trying to tie the worker's wages.

The time has come for the workers through their trade unions to seek a higher proportion of the national cake. It is important that we realise that workers cannot contribute so much to the economy and get so little. It should be obvious to the Government that social conditions are far from adequate and consequently the workers must demand more in terms of money. Too often we are apt to compare what workers here get and what those in England get and never take into account the welfare state that exists there and the many other benefits that [1283] come to the people and which our workers do not get. Some time ago when I was pleading on behalf of an unemployed man, a civil servant, who had no conception of conditions, said: “But what about the man's savings? Surely he has enough to keep him for a few weeks?” He did not realise that the man had seven children and therefore in those circumstances the man could never hope to have savings. This is an example of how we can forget how the poorer sections of our community live. We have now reached the stage when we must attempt to increase the wages of our lower-paid workers and the Government should give a lead in this direction. Furthermore, we should ensure that greater benefits are offered to our working-class people.

On the question of the manpower policy, the Parliamentary Secretary stated very vaguely that the contribution from the workers will be merely pennies. I will anxiously wait to see the draft Bill to see exactly what he means by pennies. He was very vague in regard to the few points he mentioned. I jotted down a few things which he did say. He said that the major burden will be on the State. I hope that when it is levied on the people it will be in the form of direct taxation. There was another point which disturbed me, in regard to industrial training for agricultural workers. The Parliamentary Secretary said that the Bill will not cover agricultural workers. As I see it, we will have more and more unemployment in the agricultural sector.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Agricultural workers leaving agriculture will be trained.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Deputy Tully asked the Parliamentary Secretary would it cover agricultural employment and the Parliamentary Secretary definitely said no. Can I take it as being right?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I think I see a point of misunderstanding. Possibly the Deputy meant training for employment in agriculture after training, whereas there will be training for people leaving agriculture and going into industry.

[1284]Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  There is no training intended other than that?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  No, not under this Bill.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  We can only plead with employers to take steps to minimise redundancy. This is what is envisaged in the Bill. We can ask them, where possible, to take steps to minimise redundancy and, where it is inevitable, that they provide benefits, but I take it that it is left absolutely to the discretion of the employers. Only where the redundancy cannot be prevented does the scheme apply to those cases.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  That is not clear enough for comment.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The question of redundancy is left entirely to the employers. We can only hope they will provide retirement benefits. Take the case of a man of 50 who is declared redundant. If the employer does not provide a special retirement benefit, will the scheme provide a proper retirement benefit for him?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Yes. The scheme is so formulated as to discourage or even prevent employers——

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  That man cannot be retrained.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Not necessarily, so he will get the benefit of redundancy legislation. It is so formulated to discourage as far as possible or even prevent an employer declaring somebody redundant because it would be at his own expense to do it. The Deputy had better wait for the Bill. It is formulated to prevent what he envisages happening.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Will the scheme cater for a man a little over 50 who is declared redundant and for whom no retirement benefit is provided by the employer?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Yes, anybody declared redundant.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I hope that proper facilities will be provided in the employment exchanges and that the [1285] present conditions will not continue to prevail. At present they are an absolute disgrace. There is no such thing as courtesy and civility towards the unemployed workers who attend there. The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned that the centres will be placed in the employment exchange buildings, that the placement activities will take place in the same building. How will he select the specially trained staff to deal with such cases? Will they be selected on the same basis as the present officials? These are things we would like to know when discussing the placement service.

The Parliamentary Secretary also stated that there were exaggerated reports of redundancy under the Free Trade Agreement. We can only judge this from statements made by Ministers about conditions under the Free Trade Agreement. We have now tied ourselves to an economic giant. We will definitely be faced with the situation where we will have mass unemployment. The Manpower Agency will be providing for tremendous redundancy payments under this Free Trade Agreement. I think the Government themselves are a little afraid about it. The Minister has told us that the legislation proposed to try to prevent dumping here will have to be consistent with the provisions of GATT. May I ask what the provisions are?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  The provisions leave us in the position of being able to protect our industry. Our legislation will be adequate to protect ourselves against dumping.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  And can be applied before the damaging effects have taken place?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Yes.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Minister is assuming there will not be much provision of redundancy payments?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I think the Deputy is very confused.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  If we have dumping, we are going to have unemployment and redundant workers.

[1286]Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  There can be redundancy without dumping.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Minister does not envisage much redundancy?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  No, I do not. We envisage compensatory employment developing.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  If the Minister can protect the country against dumping, there will not be the unemployment——

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  ——that would occur if there were dumping? That is right.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Therefore there would not be much need for redundancy payments. Maybe I am confusing the Minister. As I see it, we will have dumping and the effects will be there before legislation is applied. I think we will have unemployment and mass redundancy as well. Under the Free Trade Agreement, as I see it, that will be the logical outcome. This is the situation we must face. The picture looks very gloomy for us within the next year, even though the full effects of the Free Trade Agreement will not be felt. British companies will gear themselves almost to swamp our country with goods, even at cost to themselves, so that their goods will be firmly established here by the time the Free Trade Agreement is fully effective. I know of some British firms at present who are going to pay the full duties on their goods coming into this country in order to ensure that they will be firmly established in this market when the duties are completely abolished. It is worthwhile for a British company to try this to ensure that they capture the market. This is the plan being envisaged by many British companies aimed at controlling this market.

This is what we have to face under the so-called Free Trade Agreement. I cannot but see mass unemployment resulting from it. I think the Manpower Agency will be unable to cope with the situation that will develop from the Free Trade Agreement. This manpower policy should have been put into operation over a year ago. It is wrong for [1287] us to talk vaguely of the benefits when this Free Trade Agreement is actually on top of us. July 1st of this year will be a black day for this country. It may get worse. The Minister proposes to introduce legislation which will curb the rights of workers. That we must oppose at all costs.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  Before this debate concludes, I should like to say a few words, lest my silence be misinterpreted as lack of interest. We are here discussing the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce at a time when there is general turmoil in industry, when strikes are occurring all over the country and when employer-labour relations seem to be at their worst. This is a serious situation, particularly when the country is passing through an economic crisis, when expansion in production and exports is so badly needed and when we have such a serious balance of payments difficulty to overcome. I live out about 12 miles from here and there are thousands of workers on strike between here and where I live. That is an unfortunate situation and it is not being taken sufficiently seriously. Sufficient efforts are not being made to overcome this problem in industrial relations.

I take a personal interest in one of these strikes because I pass the place every day. When the employees were out five or six weeks, I moved in to see if there was anything the public representatives in the area could do to get the parties together. I found there was no move being made to get them together, and they were apart at this stage due to a misunderstanding, certainly on one side, if not on both sides. Eventually they were brought together and they had a discussion. I understand a further discussion has fallen through and this dispute is now in its eighth week.

There should be some body or organisation all the time ensuring that, although there is a dispute in an industry, the parties concerned will keep talking and will not keep apart saying: “We are not going to give them that” or “We will not accept what is being offered” and all the rest of it. [1288] Every week they are out they become more embittered and, as happened in this case, and in most cases where there are big strikes, the majority of the people concerned go and take up employment in England. Some of them, if they are lucky, take up employment here, but the majority of them just have to emigrate, especially the people with responsibilities. The people with family responsibilities cannot live on what they get in strike pay and have to go.

The most serious aspect of this is that it is left to a small number who are, in fact, the strike committee, to carry on the negotiations. In some cases, not in all, the people represented on the strike committee are not the people with the greatest responsibilities. They are, I suppose, the people who talk up most at union meetings and in that way get themselves selected. They are often not the people either with the greatest responsibilities or the greatest judgment and ability.

A great defect is the fact that all the people who were in employment before the strike took place do not get a chance of considering the offer made and do not get a real chance of participating in the negotiations. How this difficulty is to be overcome I do not know, but it is a serious difficulty. If it were possible to get the message over to the entire people in the employment, I believe settlements would be reached much sooner and much more easily. It is most unfortunate for all concerned that strikes can go on for so long. It represents a great national loss and it represents hardship on the families concerned and indeed to the traders in the district through loss of purchasing power in the area.

Efforts have been made to get stability and to settle strikes once and for all. An agreement was made covering a period of two and a half years, but this has proved a failure. It should have been obvious in advance that that period was much too long. It is very desirable at the same time that an effort should be made to get agreement — not a national agreement because I do not think a national agreement is possible — for a period of 12 months. It is at the end of a 12-month [1289] period that any industry knows how it stands and knows what it can bear. If agreements were entered into covering a period of a year and if at the end of the year it were found that calculations made at the beginning of the year were incorrect, compensatory adjustments could then be agreed upon, and if the agreement for that particular year were less than generous, it could be compensated for in the following year.

I do not think such an agreement is possible at all on a national scale because, whereas one industry could perhaps stand much more than £1, other industries could not stand £1. It is far better and much more in the interest of the people employed to keep the industry going and to ensure, at least, that the people have employment, even if wages and salaries are not as high as everybody would like them to be. It is much better to have an industry than to put it out of business through demands which it is incapable of carrying. It is extremely important that employment in industry should be kept going and expanded.

Reference has been made time and again to the number of people leaving the land. This is a trend that is going to continue, and it is taking place at an accelerated pace. Last year 14,000 people left agriculture and an estimated 4,500 people were employed in industry. I notice that in referring to the establishment of industry the Minister at all times refers to the employment potential. I do not think that in the course of the Minister's statement we got a figure for actual employment. It would be interesting some time to hear, on average, how new industries measure up to the claims they made for potential employment at the time they were looking for State aid.

The rate of growth in the provision of employment in industry is just not good enough. We have a situation at the present time where, through shortage of money, the building industry is at less than 50 per cent of its normal output. The Minister for Local Government has questioned this figure, but it is not my figure. It is the figure given to me by the master builders, [1290] and it represents replies from 61 out of 67 contractors. It is fairly accurate, I think, and it is a figure that is going to go on falling for some time yet because the money is just not there for the building industry.

A week or so ago I referred here to the bacon industry. I asked the responsible Minister was it a fact that the price secured for our bacon in the British market was 14/- less on average than the price paid for the bacon being sold by the North of Ireland in Great Britain? That was denied. I was told that we were, in fact, about level all the time with the North of Ireland. Since then, I have looked up the figures and I find the Minister was right for two weeks and wrong for about 20 weeks previously. He was less than fair to me when he insinuated that I was more or less talking through my hat. I know this is only one industry but it is a fairly large export industry and, having regard to the State aid it has got, I think the curing industry is doing a bad job. A greater effort should be made to ensure that a better job is done and a more saleable product produced, a product which will secure a much higher price on the British market for consistent goodness. A difference of 14/- represents £500,000 and we cannot ignore the importance of £500,000 in industrial exports.

With regard to industrial development I have on numerous occasions expressed the view that the machinery we have for the establishment of industry is just not good enough. A great deal will be expected from industry over the next few years from the point of view of the employment opportunities it will provide for our people. I believe this is one sector in which we have really failed. Some years ago incentives were reasonably good. These incentives were, in the main, provided by the previous Government. I know they have been extended and improved to some extent, but the machinery itself is wrong. There are three different groups responsible for attracting industry here. It would be much better if one body were responsible for this extremely important work and if the other bodies, [1291] operating more or less independently, were made branches of that particular body. The position has disimproved in recent times. We used to have the same person as chairman of the Industrial Development Authority and Foras Tionscal. That position has changed. That sort of situation does not make for the teamwork and drive so necessary because it is always easy to blame the other fellow and the other body if things do not go as well as they should. I was pleased to see that this seems to be appreciated by the Authority itself and a recommendation seems to have come from them for a re-appraisal of the whole situation. I wonder did the Minister prompt that? It is not usual to find a body asking for a re-appraisal of their own work. However, the request has been made and the Minister has decided apparently to bring in a firm of reputable and experienced business consultants. He has not said who they are but I am quite prepared to accept they are the best the Minister can get. Only the best is good enough because this is the most important job undertaken in this country for a very long time.

I said that incentives were reasonably good some time ago. Recently at Question Time the subject of incentives was raised and the Minister did not seem to think then that the time had arrived for a reconsideration. Incentives have been improved in England and elsewhere. Obviously the lesson has now been learned and it has been decided that we may have to improve incentives here. It is disturbing to read in this morning's paper that efforts will be made to keep money in Britain. Investment in the Republic and elsewhere is to be discouraged. When the Free Trade Agreement was entered into, the Minister was very optimistic about its outcome from the point of view of attracting more and better industry to this country. At the time I did not follow his reasoning and I am not able to follow it now. I do not see where exactly the added attraction is for people to come in here because of this Trade Agreement. The only sphere in which there is any new addition is in the sphere of man-made [1292] fibres. Apart from that, no new markets were opened up. However, the Minister has his own reasons presumably for being optimistic. I certainly hope his forecast will prove to be correct. I trust that this important new work now being undertaken will reach a satisfactory conclusion.

The Minister referred to the closure of certain industries. He might have referred also to the failure of other industries to get off the ground. He said that any active policy of industrial establishment is bound to carry with it this sort of risk. I agree, but it is rather unfortunate that the industries which have closed down or which failed to get off the ground were, in the main, those that got very large sums of money from the State. Because of that, it is only natural that a great deal of attention should be focussed on these industries. The ones that have come under notice recently are the GEC, Smiths of Cavan and Potez. These have either failed or are on their way out. It is wrong that a country as small and as poor as ours, in which State aid is extensive, should wait for a period of years during which these industries employ only a fraction of the potential employment at the time they were seeking State aid. It is wrong to keep valuable premises idle. It is wrong not to take steps to replace a failing industry with some other valuable industry. It is wrong to permit an industry to continue if it is merely fiddling around and giving no good reason why development is not taking place.

I have covered most of the points I want to make, with the exception of the question of adaptation grants. I have been listening over a long period to the fact that these grants have not been availed of to the extent the Department of Industry and Commerce would wish. Recently I saw criticism of these grants to the effect that they were only something in the region of 25 per cent of the total cost of adaptation and that it was not easy, where a considerable amount of money was involved, to get the balance and that credit facilities were not readily available to many industries that might be anxious to modernise.

[1293] There was a reference to mineral exploration and estimates were given of the quantities of the various types of minerals likely to be produced. No attempt was made to put a value on the products of these mines, nor was there any mention of the employment potential. I do not know if it is possible to get a measurement in that regard but I do say that all possibilities of establishing industries, even small industries, should be explored. We are inclined to rule out small industries but there are many places where only small industries are possible. There may not be a large pool of labour available in these places but there would be a small number of people to whom employment would be very important and where a small industry would be of considerable assistance.

Deputy Hogan dealt in some detail with the importance of trying to establish industries based on native raw materials. Not sufficient thought is given to this aspect of our economy. I had one experience of trying to get State aid for an industry based 100 per cent on native raw materials and with 100 per cent export potential. Many agencies were brought in to prove that this was not a viable industry and the proposal was kept out for about 15 months. Everybody was proved to be wrong and today it is a thriving industry with a great potential. I believe that there were vested interests working against that industry. It is terrible to imagine that that could be possible but it is possible. When we know that the import content of most of our industries is so high by comparison with the content of industries based on the products of our agriculture, we should concentrate as much as possible on industries based on native raw material.

There is no industry that is not important even if the greater portion of the raw material has to be re-imported and if the added value is very small. Every industry provides employment for our people and gives them an alternative to the emigrant ship. At the present time we have increasing unemployment and increasing emigration. That is something that none of us [1294] wants to see, something of which none of us is proud.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Tom J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Tom J. Fitzpatrick  (Dublin): Any rational man today, irrespective of whether he is married or single, engaged in industry or an employer, must give thought to the economic position of the country. A lot of criticism has been levelled against the Government for their attitude to the economic situation over the past 12 months. I cannot see any grounds for this criticism. Various alternative policies have been suggested but I think our industrial arm is something the country can be proud of. It is one section that is adding to the numbers of our employed people.

Deputy Hogan tried to draw comparison between imports in relation to agriculture and those in relation to industry. There can be no comparison along that line. What Deputy Hogan was trying to make out was that industry was being subsidised to a much greater extent than agriculture but he did not take into account the increased employment in industry or the fact that industry has increased our employment numbers by about 32,000. That fact justifies any subsidies that have been given to industry and if we continue along those lines we will be able to absorb the number of agricultural workers leaving the land each year.

There have been criticisms of the Second Programme for Economic Expansion but such programmes can only be forecast in relation to the circumstances at the time. These criticisms have been to the effect that industry has not measured up to the targets set in the Second Programme. At the time that programme was compiled, the people who compiled it could only forecast in relation to the circumstances of the day and, where there was any change in these circumstances, it was obvious that the Programme would be out of focus. Nobody could forecast with any great accuracy with regard to agriculture. If there happened to be a bad harvest, that forecast could fall. This applies also to our industries. [1295] We had industrial strife last year and this, coupled with the British surcharge on our exports, had a bearing on the Programme. There are always factors which prevent a project from measuring up.

I am a little puzzled about the Second Programme. In the first part, it points out that a three per cent increase in wages would put £22 million into circulation and it indicates that prices would rise by about one per cent. On that basis, if the guideline provided by the Labour Court at the request of the trade unions is adhered to, it must tend to put the Second Programme out of focus because it would put £42 million into circulation. This must automatically increase our imports and decrease our exports. Are we to find ourselves again in the same position as last year? I cannot see any other solution, but this will possibly happen. There is no point in waiting for 12 months from now before taking any steps and maybe the Opposition will then tell us that our action is too late. I think the guideline given by the Labour Court will have some effect like this. Maybe I am wrong, but that is my interpretation.

Another sector which is the chief concern of all of us is that of industrial relations. Without peaceful industrial relations, you can programme, plan and build factories as high as you wish, but you cannot succeed. This is a most serious matter. We should try to formulate some peaceful solution between employers and employees. It is a regrettable state of affairs that, last year, we were the highest in 17 countries in Europe so far as industrial strikes are concerned. It would be impossible for a small country such as this to survive economically if we continued in that fashion in the future. The employer must take a broader view of the worker and realise that he is an important unit within industry and is not just a number or a cog in a machine. There is also a serious obligation on the worker to do an honest week's work and not to look forward to just one [1296] day in the week, pay day. He must realise that he has a moral obligation to do an honest day's work on every working day.

I am glad the Minister devoted quite an amount of time to labour relations and the Labour Court. After being in existence for 20 years, the question now arises whether the functions of the Labour Court measure up to the complicated position in which management and labour find themselves today. The Minister mentioned that it would be left to the voluntary decision of employers and employees to opt for a court whose decisions would have a compulsory effect. It was optional for employers and employees to accept that. I believe certain groups of employers and employees would be prepared to accept this in preference to the terrible jungle in which we find ourselves today. Let us hope that this position can be rectified and that we can straighten out the difficulties between these two groups.

I come now to the matter of the Prices Commission. There is a complete control in prices of all descriptions. Let nobody, however, be under the impression that there are various firms in this country who will find it possible to give the increase the Labour Court has recommended and the Congress of Trade Unions demanded, without increasing their prices. If this is to happen and they cannot increase prices, then the companies concerned will go out of business. We had an example last week of a fertiliser company in this country that lost a few hundreds of thousands of pounds in the first quarter, due to a haphazard way of trying to adjust prices. As yet, they have not succeeded. If these people find themselves in financial difficulties, there is no good in their applying to the Department of Industry and Commerce to rectify their prices position because it might come about in six months or in nine months, whereas the industry cannot afford to wait. I believe a Prices Commission should readily be available, without having to go to the Department of Industry and Commerce, and that, if it is considered that a case merits consideration, they could, there and then, set up an ad [1297] hoc type of commission. We should have men permanently employed in that job to meet the demands of firms that need an adjustment in prices.

In passing, I should like to mention a certain section of the distributive trade. Many of us read in the newspapers last week that an old-established chain of grocery stores in this city is to go out of business. Some hundreds of its employees will thus be put out of work. Has anybody asked himself why this chain of stores should close? Was it high labour costs? Was it bad management or were these people retiring? I can assure the House that it was for none of these reasons. It was due solely to unfair practices carried on by some of our millionaire supermarkets in this city which are marketing their products at prices with which no medium-sized trader, or even this chain of groceries, could compete. These millionaire supermarkets, with financial backing from abroad, have, in my opinion, only one motive, that is, to control the grocery outlets of this country.

I see another danger inherent in supermarkets. Many of these companies have manufacturing outlets in England. They manufacture their products in England and sell some of them in their shops and supermarkets in this city. With the advent of free trade, the danger is that these manufacturers who have supermarkets in this country will stock only the products of their manufacturing outlets abroad, to the exclusion of the Irish manufacturer, that is, when they have succeeded in getting complete control of the retail outlets in this country.

Hire purchase is a practice which has grown up in this country. In some circumstances, it is highly desirable. When young people start off in life, it affords them an easy opportunity to get their requirements for their home. If hire purchase were confined to people who could afford it, the position would be all right. Unfortunately, very many people are enticed into it by sales expertise. Every day in the week, we read of people who were summoned because they were inveigled into buying articles which they could not afford, articles which they would like to [1298] possess and which it would be desirable that they should have but the fact is that they are articles they cannot afford. There should be some protection. There should be a close check to see if they have any other hire-purchase arrangement before they may commit themselves again to any other group.

Earlier today Deputy Crowley spoke about the ties of trade unions based in England and how they dictate policy for their workers in Ireland. At that time Deputy Corish asked Deputy Crowley if he could name any of these. There was a case recently where a motor assembly factory went on strike and the unfortunate employees had to wait for something like three weeks or a month before they could get strike pay because they had to get official sanction from London, or wherever in England the head office is. It is undesirable that employees who are members of these unions should have to wait so long to get sanction for strike pay because their head office is based in England. That is one drawback I see in the case of English-based unions about which Deputy Corish challenged Deputy Crowley. That is just one case I know of.

I have little more to say except to express the hope that some peaceful solution will be found to our industrial relations problem. The sooner that happens, the sooner our economic position will be placed on a sounder footing.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I should like to comment on industrial development which the Minister dealt with at some lenght in his speech. Anyone who reads the newspapers and attends in the House is well aware of the grave dissatisfaction of Deputies on this side of the House. That dissatisfaction has been voiced. They are also aware that on the other side of the House, where they could not open their mouths, they were on many occasions as dissatisfied as we were about the question of handing out more or less ad lib very substantial sums of money to people coming here to establish industries on the basis that they had the technical [1299] knowledge and the markets in which to get rid of their products and the very substantial employment they were to give to Irish workers.

We all know of the number of failures, although the Minister in his speech glosses over them by saying that it is the failures that get publicity. Undoubtedly, a failure that costs the taxpayer something in the region of £1 million will tend to get publicity and when that is repeated on a number of occasions, it will get more publicity. I do not think the Minister should be so surprised at this or try to gloss over this very serious situation that has arisen in regard to these grants. In the Labour Party, we are as anxious as any other Deputies—if not more so—to have employment provided for our people and we have no great quarrel with the system if a certain amount of help or financial assistance is given towards providing that employment but we are beginning to be regarded by European and American industrialists as Treasure Island where they can come in and very easily qualify for very substantial grants and tax concessions on the basis that their potential employment will be in the region of several hundred people, while in the result all the employment they provide very often—and this has been admitted by the Minister in reply to supplementary questions—is in the region of 30 or 40 jobs.

It would be a very interesting exercise to divide the number of people who have obtained employment in these firms into the amount of money our taxpayers have given and find out how much it has cost to provide a job for one 17-year-old or 18-year-old girl. We would probably find that it would be much better to give her a few thousand pounds as a dowry and tell her to get married. At least, she would be an Irish national and we would know where the money went. Not only is the money going now but it is very difficult to know where it goes. Deputies get very evasive answers to Parliamentary Questions and even more evasive answers to supplementary questions, and it is practically impossible to find out what has gone [1300] wrong in many cases where large sums of money are involved. The time for a departure from the present system of doling out these grants has now arrived. I was not a member of the House when the system of handing out money through the Industrial Development Authority was established, but as far as I know the precedent was set in regard to Verolme Dockyard and that before then there was great scrutiny in this House of the qualifications of the people concerned and the likelihood of their being able to achieve the employment figures they set down on paper in order to qualify for these grants, before such grants were made.

In the public interest, the Minister should seriously consider setting up a committee composed of members of all Parties in the House. They would be in a position to satisfy themselves as to the qualifications of people getting these grants. We have had far too many serious disappointments, not only financially but also in regard to hopes that have been raised. Some people got employment; in other cases the hope of employment was held out but was shattered in a very short time. The Minister should seriously consider something on the lines I have mentioned in regard to the handing out of these grants.

I also want to deal with the question of industrial relations which was another aspect of the Minister's speech. Everyone is very seriously concerned about industrial relations, and rightly so. There have been great cries about it. People have seen fit, as did Deputy Fitzpatrick only a few moments ago, more or less to denounce the workers for daring to challenge the Taoiseach's and the Minister's statements that three per cent was all that particular sections of the community were entitled to. When organised labour, through the Congress of Irish Unions, sat down and gave very serious and careful consideration to the problem that confronted them and, not excluding the interests of the country as a whole from those considerations, arrived at the conclusion that they would recommend to their affiliated unions that they would confine themselves to seeking no more than 20/- per week, they [1301] were denounced by the Government as being irresponsible.

The FUE, of course, thought that this was a marvellous opportunity to “have a go” at organised labour and they lined up behind the Government and the Government lined up behind the FUE, and everything looked grand for a real old 1913 set-to. Then somewhere along the line there was a change of mind and the Labour Court issued their statement that set down certain guidelines. Unfortunately, before that day arrived, very many people had become involved in actual strikes and very many more people had already started along the path that brought them to the verge of a strike and it did nothing to improve the industrial relations in the industry they were engaged in although a strike never came off.

There is no doubt in my mind that the responsibility for that situation lies entirely with the Taoiseach and the Minister. There is no question in the world about that. That has been more than borne out by the fact that now there has been a change of heart on the part of the Minister and the Government that maybe the £1 is not too bad after all. It is a great pity that they did not give the matter the serious consideration that the Congress saw fit to give it and arrive at that conclusion before we ended up on the brink of chaos in industry. Make no mistake—and I think the Minister is aware of it—we very nearly did.

The Minister has mentioned that he intends to introduce new legislation in an endeavour to improve industrial relations. Particularly with regard to the function of the Labour Court, this could be a very good thing. However, I should like to see the full text of what the Minister has in mind before committing myself completely on that but I should like to make some suggestions to the Minister. I do so because I have had a reasonable amount of experience of the Labour Court in another capacity and I have found, particularly with regard to the conciliation level, that the court has been a tremendously useful instrument.

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Ben Briscoe  Zoom on Ben Briscoe  Set up by Fianna Fáil.

[1302]Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Irrespective. Even you are likely to do something sensible sometime. The court has undoubtedly solved very many problems in industrial fields. But—and again I am speaking of the conciliation level—there are very definite drawbacks. If the Minister, when considering the new legislation, would bear them in mind, he would be doing a very useful service to the improvement of industrial relations.

The conciliation officers of the court, as the Minister is only too well aware, are drawn from the Civil Service. We have been very fortunate in a number of cases in that we have got tremendously good, efficient and more than competent conciliation officers but, let us be honest and I think we should be honest, we have not always got them. We have on occasions got people who were not so good. We have had the sad experience—and this has been said amongst trade union officials—of breaking in a man in the Labour Court and just when you have him where he knows what it is all about, he is transferred back and you have a new recruit coming in. That is rather unfortunate.

It is also rather unfortunate that recruitment of conciliation officers of the court should be by way of transfer from some Civil Service Department. The Minister could very usefully think along the lines of going outside the Civil Service, not excluding it, but going outside, to see if, possibly, he could not get some more efficient, experienced negotiators or conciliation officers who would be familiar with the set up between management and labour.

The Labour Court, at conciliation level, has been extremely fortunate in one thing, that is, the Chief Conciliation Officer. Mr. McDermott, over the years, has won the respect and the confidence of both management and trade union. If Mr. McDermott had not been there in that capacity, the court might not have been as successful as it has proved to be. If the Minister were to give some consideration to the suggestion of going outside the service for its officers, it might not do any harm.

In connection with the Minister's [1303] consideration of the new legislation which he proposes to introduce, one aspect of industrial relations and negotiations that he may or may not be aware of is the reluctance on either side to give any show of weakness or anything that could be interpreted as a show of weakness. I have known situations where employers and workers have been at loggerheads and the obvious thing for them to do was to refer the matter to the conciliation officer of the court but there has been a very definite reluctance on both sides to take the initiative in doing this. I wonder if it would be possible, when the Minister is examining the set-up of the court, to find some means whereby, before strike notice is actually served or before the matter comes to a head, the court could of its own initiative intervene and try to bring about conciliation in relation to the problem. These are points which might help in solving the problems of the Labour Court.

There is also the question of the Labour Court itself. Sometimes we find undue delay in obtaining hearings. It is very difficult to find out just what are the priorities which determine which case the court will hear first. You may have a case, involving a relatively small number of workers, which has been referred to the court, and you may be waiting a considerable time before the case is heard; yet workers are aware that other people who had not served a claim until long after they had referred their case to the court, get a hearing before them. There may be very good reasons for this but we do not know them and the workers do not know them.

Another point is that when the court issues its findings you just get a recommendation and that is the end of it. I think this procedure is wrong, that there should be a follow up by the conciliation officer who dealt with the case at conciliation level and after the court's findings have been issued, he should bring both parties together and interpret—for want of a better word— the findings and see if it is possible to get acceptance by both sides.

[1304] I also think that the role of the Press is to be regretted in regard to the Labour Court. If one has presented a case to the court, one often finds that the case is completely distorted in the Press. Surely in this field of industrial relations which has caused so much anxiety in the country, an accurate description of what took place in the court is justified. The Press should show a greater sense of responsibility.

The Minister in his speech indicated that he was considering making the findings of the court binding. That would be a very grave mistake. The Minister also mentioned certain sanctions in the event of workers not accepting the recommendations of the court. This would not only be a very great mistake but could lead to very serious consequences for us all. On reflection, the Minister will realise that you will not and cannot find any solution to the problems in industrial relations in legislation. You can bring in certain machinery through legislation to help foster good industrial relations but you will not solve the problems by legislation. Industrial relations will always be with us for the very obvious reason that there is a basic conflict of interests between employees and employers; both sides want so much and, if one gets more, the other gets less. That is life and the sooner the Minister realises it the better for us all.

It would also be better for the Minister to realise that he cannot overcome this problem by telling people: “You will accept what you are told or else”. It would be extremely foolish for the Minister to try to impose anything that would clearly be completely unacceptable to organised labour. The Minister is a reasonably fairminded, intelligent man and if he re-examines his thoughts as expressed in his speech here, he will realise that this is not the solution. Certainly we can improve existing machinery, bring it up to date to meet conditions as they now obtain, but an imposed solution would be a grave mistake.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): This Estimate shows an increase of £1,750,000 over the Estimate for last [1305] year. I suppose in this age it is to be expected that the cost of running the Department of Industry and Commerce should increase because, with the flight from the land, it is important that the Department should direct its activities towards putting more people to work in industry as apparently the Government's policy cannot keep them on the land. I want to make it perfectly clear that I am in favour of establishing worthwhile industries throughout the length and breadth of the country and that I am in favour of spending money developing such industries. This Party have proved that they believe in encouraging, by grants and, more important still, by other incentives, the setting up of worthwhile industries.

During the office of the second inter-Party Government, Deputy Sweetman, as Minister for Finance, introduced the income tax concessions for profits earned on exports. That more than anything else over a long number of years attracted foreign capital here and encouraged people to establish industries to manufacture goods for export. I want to make that perfectly clear in case some criticism I want to make later might be construed as meaning that I am against the spending of money on industry: no such thing. However, I think that when money is being spent in large sums on industry, great care should be taken to ensure that it is wisely spent. No considerations other than the success of the proposed industry, the amount of employment given and expected and the amount of goods exported should be taken into account in influencing the setting up of that industry. I am quite satisfied if the matter were left in the hands of the Industrial Development Authority and the other boards responsible, without ministerial interference and without any political pull, the establishment of industries would be decided on the merits of the case, and the industries would be sited on the merits and the requirements of the localities concerned. I believe that where industries have been wrongly placed and where they have proved failures, the reason [1306] they have done so is that the IDA and the Grants Board were influenced by ministerial interference and political pressure and wirepulling. I regret to have to say that but I honestly believe it to be true.

There have been too many failures in industry in recent years. The Minister for Justice, speaking in this House some time ago, stated that 97 per cent of the industries set up over a certain period had been an unqualified success and only three per cent failed. If that is so, I can only say that the northern counties of the Republic, especially the north-eastern counties, have been particularly unfortunate. I agree with the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he says it must be accepted that an active policy for the attraction of industry has to contain an element of risk. I also accept his statement that the success of each individual project cannot be assured. But I do not accept his statement that “the losses suffered in the failures are minimal in comparison with the total gains”.

I do not want to discuss individual industries by name here but any case I mention exists in reality and I can give the name, if required. I know of a concern established within the past three years or so, to the opening of which the Taoiseach was invited. Invitations were sent out to many people to the opening ceremony. For some reason or other, on the day before the official opening was due to take place, it was cancelled on the ground that the Taoiseach could not come. In fact, so hurried was the alteration in the arrangements that some people actually turned up for the official opening without having been notified that it was called off. I think the establishment of the industry about which I am speaking now was influenced by political considerations. That industry opened on a large scale within the past three years. Contracts were given out to a building contractor in three stages totalling about £70,000 for buildings alone. The building operations have just been completed, but the building contractor has not been paid. There is a balance of between £12,000 and £13,000 due to the building contractor and a receiver [1307] is now in possession of this industry, winding it up.

I say there is something wrong there. I say that if the IDA or the Grants Board had a free hand and were completely independent to use their own discretion, additional grants would never have been given to this concern and the unfortunate building contractor would not be in the position he appears to be in now where he is likely to be at a loss of £12,000 or £13,000. Admittedly, there is a balance of grants still due, but apparently that will not be paid now and the building contractor can whistle for his money or take a very small dividend in the pound. I would like to see the files on this case and hear a frank history of the company concerned. I would be amazed if there was not pressure, and considerable pressure, put on the board responsible to sanction the grants that were sanctioned. That should not happen.

I know of another industry that has been started since this one. It is situate between 70 and 100 miles from Dublin. It is engaged in doing work on parts for agricultural machinery. The raw material in the shape of partly-worked material is imported from Germany. It is transported to some place between 70 and 100 miles away. There are some treads put on it or some further processing done on it in the factory I am talking about. It is put in the lorry, sent back to Dublin and then returned to Germany. That might be a profitable operation, but it is hard to see how it could be. At any rate a grant was sanctioned for this factory for £175,000 approximately—that figure was given in reply to a Parliamentary Question—and about £150,000 has actually been paid. The Taoiseach did open this factory.

I am not saying that the political pressure in that case was anything like as strong as in the other one, but there was some influence used. I cannot give the exact date but I would say that factory was opened two or three years ago. I do not think there were any more than 35 people employed in that factory then, and I do not think there [1308] are 20 people there at the present time. Was that a worthwhile operation? Maybe there is some future for it in the years that lie ahead that we know nothing about. However, the man in the street finds it hard to swallow that. The man in the street finds it difficult to accept that that is a prudent or a productive expenditure of public funds. I should also like to find out in regard to this concern—I think I shall put down a question—what was the anticipated employment when the grants were sanctioned. I do not know whether I shall get a reply to that, but I should like to know what employment was anticipated and at what date, because I know the actual employment. There were other factories built about the same period which have also been what I might describe as unhappy experiences.

I repeat that when public money is being spent by the million, it should be obligatory on all concerned to see that it is spent wisely and that only bona fide considerations enter into the decision. If we were spending twice as much money on the promotion and establishment of sound industries, I would say, “Hear, hear.” I would be in favour of sound industries which would give more employment, sound industries which would right our balance of trade. I would speak here and vote here for the provision of the necessary money to finance the sort of sound industries of which I speak. I would be lacking in my duty as a public representative, as a Member of this House, if I did not draw the attention of the House and the country to the type of industry of which I have given two instances, and if I did not condemn in the strongest possible language the tendency on the part of the Government to decide the establishment of industries on political and dishonest considerations.

We are entering shortly on the beginning of a free trade era. On 1st July next, we shall commence to dismantle our protective tariffs at the rate of ten per cent per annum. We shall have to meet keen competition, and I hope we shall be successful. It is the duty of the Government to help in every way they can the industries [1309] here which will be affected by the dismantling of our tariffs. It is our duty to see that nothing avoidable is done to hinder these export concerns or to make it more difficult for them to compete with opposition in the British market.

It is regrettable, therefore, that just as we are about to enter into a free trade community, capital for industry should be so very scarce. The Government cannot avoid responsibility for that state of affairs. The fact that there is no adequate capital available to industry at this critical juncture is undoubtedly due to Government policy over the past number of years, to the fact that the Government did not accept warnings, to the fact that the Government were not honest with the people in time, and to the fact that the Government managed the financial business of this country in such a way that immediately after the last general election—I think this is very significant—the Taoiseach comes into this House and tells us that the brakes must go on, that the belts must be tightened, and that money must be withheld from all and sundry; the banks are directed not to advance money and to get in the advances they have made.

Banks have no money for a number of reasons. The principal one is that the Government have made inroads into the money available to the banks for lending. Our manufacturers are being thrown into the field of open competition under two handicaps. Next to shortage of capital, the greatest handicap under which industry has to operate is that of industrial unrest. We certainly have that and plenty of it. The present Government must take responsibility for the industrial unrest all over the country. One loses count of the number of strikes. An announcement that a strike is to take place has ceased to be news. Strikes are an everyday occurrence. A great many of the strikes are due to the fact that the Government over the past few years have created a situation in which strikes are inevitable. They have increased the cost of living year after year.

They were warned in this House [1310] when they introduced the turnover tax that that tax would put up the cost of living, foment unrest and create a spiralling demand for higher wages. The Minister for Finance at the time denied emphatically that the turnover tax would increase the cost of living. He seemed to be under the impression that it would be absorbed in some mysterious way by the suppliers of the raw material, by the manufacturers, by the distributors, by the retailers, by anybody but the consumer, and it would not therefore affect the cost of living. Whether the Government believed that or not I do not know, but the fact is that the turnover tax did increase the cost of living and every Budget introduced since has added still further taxation to what have now come to be accepted as essentials.

The 1965 Budget imposed considerable taxation. There was some excuse and some justification for that because the less well off sections reaped some benefit. We have had considerable increases in taxation in the Budget we have just discussed. It has increased the cost of living and the Government now accept that it has increased the cost of living and they have been forced to have a second look at their policy in relation to wage increases and to concede that the lower and middle income groups are entitled to larger increases than they had at first believed. The Government brought that situation about by increased taxation on articles that are no longer regarded as luxuries. All this has created industrial unrest. All this has brought about the strikes.

The situation was aggravated by the status increase given by the Government in 1963 and 1964 to well paid people. The Government were warned then that if they increased the salaries of certain people by £200 to £600 per year, they were embarking on a dangerous policy which would have far-reaching consequences. That is exactly what has happened. As recently as last year, the Government, without any reference to this House, increased the salaries of the higher grades in the Civil Service by hundreds of pounds per head and that fact came to light only as the result of a [1311] Parliamentary Question put down by a member of this Party. Year after year the Government have increased the cost of living and simultaneously given status increases and other large increases to already well paid people and they should not be surprised, therefore, if the lower income groups demand a fair crack of the whip.

The Government must take the blame for the fact that our industries now are entering into free trade labouring under two handicaps: shortage of capital and bad industrial relations. I appeal to the Minister to take his hands off the Industrial Development Authority and the Grants Board and let these bodies operate without hindrance, judging every application which comes before them on its merits. I repeat we would be lacking in our duty if we did not draw attention, as I have tried to do, to the fact that the Government have handicapped our manufacturing industrial concerns at a very important and critical juncture.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  We all of us at all times welcome constructive criticism. We have heard a great deal of criticism of industrial development during this debate. Those who have criticised proved themselves to be the biggest failure since the potato crop in Black '47 when they themselves had responsibility for industrial development. We have a Government now who, since 1932, have concentrated on the development of our industrial arm. Many industries have been set up. The few that failed have been commented upon by the members of the Opposition in no uncertain terms, not only now but on every possible occasion. We very seldom hear the Opposition speak in glowing terms of the great industrial expansion that has taken place. It is time they sat down and gave this matter some consideration. If we are to be held responsible for the failures, we will also take the credit for the successes.

We know that we are now approaching a period when it will be necessary to adapt our industries to meet the demands of the Free Trade Area. Listening to some of the speakers [1312] here today, one would think that we could go it alone. They condemn the Government for signing the Free Trade Agreement. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has explained on numerous occasions the steps that are being taken to adapt industry to meet the new needs and the training of personnel to meet the new skills.

I want to deal with the question of price stabilisation and I would ask the Minister to give serious consideration to this problem. I feel that enough is not being done with regard to it. The Minister should seriously consider the protection of the housewives of Dublin and elsewhere from the gimmicks being employed by some of the international gangsters, people who are advertising with great dishonesty, whose claims bear no relation to reality. We see claims on television, radio and in the newspapers for detergents that will wipe away everything but mortal sin, and I would like to examine some of the kingsize packets that are advertised to discover the actual quantity of the commodity in them. Many of our housewives are being codded by the claims made so glibly on radio and television and on hoardings through the city.

We are told that there is 4d off the price of soap but when this claim is examined, it is found that there is no 4d off. It is just a gimmick to get people to buy. The Minister should see that this type of advertising is related to some form of standards. There can be no control unless there are standards by which people must abide. The petrol companies say they can reduce the price of their commodity by 6d, 5d or 3d. There is something wrong if they can do that. If it is so, it is a clear indication that they have been overcharging for a considerable period. I would ask the Minister to consider a further examination of the price of petrol.

Then we have the breweries whose intensive advertising is out of all proportion to the public need. They advertise on radio and television, in the newspapers and on public hoardings, and then they offer all the gimmicks of free ashtrays and everything else. I [1313] am sure that Guinness do not sell one pint extra with all this nonsense on the television. When people go into a public house, they go in to do their usual drinking and are not influenced by what appears on the television screen. This intensive advertising is only another means of putting their hands into the pockets of the people and these companies are evading taxation by throwing far more money than they should into advertising. The operations of the tobacco companies should also be examined to see how much money is being poured into unnecessary advertising.

This Department is responsible for the production of geological maps. I would like to know why they have ceased to produce these maps in colour so as to outline underground formations. Such maps are much sought after by various organisations such as young farmers, consulting engineers and mining engineers. They form an essential service. This Department now produces a black print which shows nothing of the underground structure. I know of one industrial concern which sent a consulting engineer from France to examine the situation in the west and he was unable to obtain the necessary information from the Ordnance Survey Branch.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I think this a matter for the Department of Agriculture.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  I am quite sure the Minister did not give the instructions that they would be discontinued. For his information, I believe that all mention that these maps are for sale has been erased.

A very important section of the Minister's speech was devoted to industrial relations. It is a matter to which we shall have to give considerable attention. Undoubtedly, in the discussions that will take place, there will be people who will avail of every opportunity of siding with the sections which may bring them some credit and of magnifying the problems that may tend to bring attention to them, even though the measure is justly applied for the benefit of the community as a whole.

[1314] We find that almost all the Labour Deputies have attacked the Government for being irresponsible as to the manner in which this matter has been tackled in the past and for being completely responsible for the strikes that are taking place. If the Labour Party accept responsibility for good management and good relations, they must accept responsibility for some of the irresponsible actions that have been taking place. There are two sides to every story. Industrial disputes have taken place because the workers disregarded the leadership or advice given to them and the situation got out of hand with some of the unions concerned.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Has the Deputy any responsibility for the union of which he is a member?

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  Oh, yes.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Good.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  While it is not a one-sided affair, the union officials must accept some of the responsibility for some of the misdeeds that have taken place.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Deputy Andrews and Deputy Crowley said they represent the workers. If there is any credit going in this business, the Deputy takes it, but, when there is trouble he throws the blame on the Labour Party.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  The Labour Party try to put the responsibility on the Government Party if there is anything that they feel is magnified out of all proportion in the minds of the workers.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Give us your view on the three per cent.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  I will, in a minute.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Good man; I shall be delighted to hear you.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  The workers have always been the concern of the Fianna Fáil Party and this view has been expressed by the Taoiseach and the various Ministers not alone now but throughout the years. We have had evidence down through the years of the [1315] efforts of the Fianna Fáil Party to produce the necessary aids and assistance for the workers. Every single advance made in the field of social welfare has emanated from Fianna Fáil. There is not a single aid to the worker for which the Labour Party or Fine Gael were responsible, and well they know it.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Nonsense.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  I shall deal now with the manpower policy. This is a policy on which the Government Party and the Labour Party will be tested. I have spoken to many trade union officials on this question of redundancy and the training of personnel. They have indicated that there will be demarcation, whether or not we like it. We must examine the position in the future on the basis of commonsense. When commonsense did not dictate the settlement of various problems in the past, hundreds of workers became unemployed. This problem must now be tackled before workers in any industry are adversely affected. I think I must, before I sit down, mention the turnover tax.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Hear, hear.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  I believe there are some shopkeepers in this city who exploit the situation. A very strict watch should therefore be maintained over the shopkeepers. I know of something which happened quite recently where a woman who usually shops for three of her neighbours went into a certain establishment to purchase some commodities. The shopkeeper insisted that the break-down would take place in the shop and turnover tax was charged in excess on each item. There are many such instances. I would ask the Minister to ensure that a strict eye is kept in cases where the turnover tax is not included in the total price but is added after purchase. This is happening in the Walkinstown area day in day out in one particular shop. The people there are held up to ransom because the particular line is available only in that shop. There are an unscrupulous few who will attempt to gain advantage [1316] from this or any other tax. I would ask the Minister to pay special attention so that this position can be rectified for all concerned.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  I am intrigued by the ability of the members of the Fianna Fáil Party in this House consistently to face both ways at the one time. We had Deputy Andrews, and I am sure, even Deputy Booth, and others, claiming at one stage that they represent the workers. It is interesting but of course this procedure is not new. The present Taoiseach, when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, used to talk quite a lot about representing the workers.

The workers are starting to wake up to the facts of life and to realise that their best representatives are not those in management, are not those associated with the ownership of industry, are not those associated with the ownership of large agricultural holdings, and so on. These people, because of their association in a major way with management and with ownership, and because of the financial contacts, naturally cannot represent the people who are compelled to exist by working for a wage or a salary. There is a conflict. We have a conflict even in Fianna Fáil. Deputy Andrews claims to represent the workers and Deputy Dowling comes along and, while he may think he is a fairly active member of a trade union, repeatedly, in the course of the debate here, he makes reference to the three per cent; even again this evening when asked to express views on the three per cent, he said he would deal with that, but then closed his contribution and left the Chamber. Naturally, he would find himself very much embarrassed at this time if in his personal capacity, he were to attempt to defend the indefensible, to defend the attempt to impose on industrial, agricultural and salaried workers a disguised wages standstill order. There is no doubt whatever—it has been demonstrated quite clearly that this inspired talk of three per cent is another attempt to get back to the situation that existed in 1941. The Government did not want to outrage the workers directly by bringing in a wage standstill order. At present [1317] thousands of workers are being conceded increases in excess of three per cent; many thousands of them were conceded these increases as a result of normal negotiations but, unfortunately, many other thousands were forced to take to the streets in a effort to secure what they were entitled to, to maintain their standard of living that had been depressed as a result in the past two years of the failure of the Government to deal properly with the economic situation.

In the 1964 negotiations, an agreement was reached between the main representatives of the employers' groups, not only the Federated Union of Employers but many others, on the one hand, and representatives of the trade union movement and the workers, on the other. Long before 1964, the trade unions and this Party—the only Party in the House who consistently speak for the workers—were constantly drawing the attention of the Government and the Minister to the need to deal with price increases and the absolute necessity to introduce a measure of price control sufficient to ensure that those in whose power it lay at that time would not be able to take advantage of the situation to increase prices without showing beyond doubt that increases were justified, either because of increased costs of materials or services or even because of the increased cost of labour in a particular industry.

The Minister and the Taoiseach as chief Government spokesmen have all along indicated that they have no belief in price control, even though they had available price control machinery that had been originally introduced in 1948, I think, and had proved effective for its particular purpose, which was to make those sections of the community who were anxious to increase prices without justification, careful of what they were doing. If they did not take care to ensure that they had a case for the increase, they would find themselves having to explain in public what they were at. The Fianna Fáil Minister for Industry and Commerce subsequently discovered that this type of machinery was not one they supported and they made it quite plain that their [1318] attitude was that they were satisfied with the system of laissez faire, the system by which anybody who could get an increase in prices and get away with it, irrespective of the effect on the community and the economy, could do so.

Early in 1964 was the appropriate time for the Government to examine the situation and anticipate the likely development of price increases that were then taking place. As we know, they did nothing until the beginning of the second half of last year when they became somewhat panicstricken. Then, after prices had continued to rise consistently and other aspects of the economy had developed problems and difficulties, the Minister came to the House with a price control Bill. It must be recognized that efforts were made at that time to bring about some form of rationalisation and some stabilisation by dealing with prices and wages but because of lack of Government activity, we found that by the autumn of 1965, prices had continued to rise so far as the public were concerned, to the point where, in order to restore the position of the ordinary workers to that which had existed at the beginning of 1964, a wage rate increase of 10.4 per cent was needed.

At that stage, towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year, we had statements made here, there and everywhere that no increase in incomes should exceed three per cent. It is correct to say that the Taoiseach did not, in fact, say, and I do not think the Minister for Industry and Commerce said, in those exact words, that nobody should get more than three per cent but statements were supplied at dinners and various other occasions which had the effect of bringing to the mind of those who already were resisting any adjustment in wages and salaries this magical idea of there being no increase beyond three per cent. As a result of this situation developing, there has been in recent months a very serious and growing deterioration in industrial relations because it became quite plain some months ago that an adjustment of this nature would not [1319] satisfy the economy of the citizens of our country.

At this particular time, there was a situation where, in fact, those representing the employers' side of the economy were fully convinced—I do not think they needed too much convincing—that they were acting with full Government support in resisting claims for increases in wages and salaries and for fringe benefits until the situation had developed where thousands of workers were engaged in industrial disputes and where the economy of the particular industries was being upset. Another position developed which was somewhat different from the previous one because at this stage in time we had a statement from the body which was set up under the Industrial Relations Act for the purpose of trying to avoid the development of industrial disputes and of helping to settle industrial disputes, conceding that an increase of £1 a week was an increase that might be sought and secured.

Of course, the Government officially did not go on record that they agreed all the way with the guidelines set down by the Labour Court, but, nevertheless, at a particular period, when the situation in industry had become difficult and was becoming more difficult, there was this pronouncement by the Labour Court. Instead of dealing with a number of disputes that were before them, the court made a general statement.

The Government's timing—possibly the Minister for Industry and Commerce will disclaim a certain amount of responsibility for this—of their action in regard to some of their more highly-paid employees was rather unfortunate. At a certain point in time, publicity was given inside and outside this House to the type and the size of the increases granted to the higher paid of the civil servants. I do not think I have ever been heard to argue that civil servants are not entitled to adequate salaries or adjustments in salaries like anyone else. Nevertheless, from the point of view of the economy, from the point of view of the general position in industrial [1320] relations, the timing was somewhat unfortunate.

In introducing the Estimate, the Minister referred to industrial relations. There is no subject on the curriculum of any school or university or which is dealt with in seminars organised by management institutes and seminars organised by the trade union movement or in lectures by the National Productivity Committee on which Ministers and other representatives of the State have spoken so much as on this question of industrial relations. There are more experts in this field than in almost any other field. The difficulty appears to be that the experts know very little of their subject because many of the experts who lecture the trade union movement do so from a particular point of view. They lecture them from an absolute lack of knowledge of what happens on the factory floor, the office floor or in the shop. They lecture them from a lack of knowledge of the motivation of the ordinary worker in relation to his job, in relation to the conditions in which he works on the job, in relation to everything in connection with the job.

From time to time, there have been criticisms of the manner in which workers or their organisations react to certain things. I doubt if there has ever been a time when there has been complete and absolute peace in industry. I do not think there will ever be a time when there will be complete peace for every individual, unless, of course, we reach a period of development in this country at which individuals cease to be individuals and become merely cogs in some industrial or financial machine. Certainly, in recent years, where we have had all these lectures by experts on industrial relations, there has been a lack of appreciation of what are the basic needs of the workers. There has been too frequently a readiness to expect the ordinary worker to go along lines that nobody else will accept.

Deputy Dowling, before he left the House, was talking about training and re-training in industry. Although I understand that in his private capacity he is associated with a union in which [1321] there are many craftsmen, he was indicating his view here as a Deputy that there should be a departure on the part of people and a reduction in their resistance to change, that they should welcome new techniques and new methods and should welcome the entrance into somewhat restricted spheres of activity of anybody who can be trained to do a particular job.

Even Deputy Dowling did not suggest that this pressure on sections of the working class movement was not just being resisted there. He did not suggest there was any reason for alleged resistance to change. He did not take into account the economic position of people who possibly for generations have been endeavouring to establish themselves in particular industries, to train themselves in particular crafts, and who naturally are concerned about employment and security in employment and about advancement in the event of changes being made which would affect them to their detriment. Deputy Dowling failed to mention that it is not only in the field of manual workers and craftsmen that there are, if one might so term them, conventions, the convention, for instance, that nobody but an electrician may do an electrician's job and that nobody but a plumber can carry out a plumber's work.

There are many professions in which there are what you might call restrictive attitudes. Let anybody think of infringing on the work of a solicitor, a barrister, a doctor or a teacher, and he will know what would happen immediately. Nobody ever accuses a teacher, a doctor or a barrister or anybody in any of the professions of continuing in restrictive practices. No. Instead they pick out people with manual training and say: “You must be responsive to change. Whether this means that you are going to lose or endanger your employment, whether it means you are going to endanger your earnings or your security does not matter, because we must have a manpower policy and we must advance economically and you should be prepared to go along.”

The same people are very careful about other sections of the community. [1322] There are many people who engage in the restrictive practice of being a director of five or six different companies. There are also restrictive practices in a managerial capacity. You have also what we might call inherited practices where you may be sure of elevation in the walk of life in which you are engaged if you have certain connections. However, these are not considered to be in any way restrictive. I suggest that in regard to industrial relations, and also in regard to the harping on these other problems, a broader view should be taken.

The Minister in his opening speech says:

If the workers were soured by the feeling that prices had eroded the 12 per cent, employers were equally soured by what they regarded as smart devices in the nature of claims for status pay, service pay and so on.

I do not think we should worry too much about the question of service in this regard. What we are concerned about here is what the Minister does and what the Government do and how they exercise their responsibility to the community. We are concerned if their actions or speeches from time to time can be deemed to support a point of view or an attitude being adopted by the employers as a whole. There is no doubt that many employers in many industries, whether they believe it or not, have expressed the view that in resisting the legitimate claims of their employees, they are doing so in furtherance of Government policy. Whatever the Minister may refer to as being desirable or not desirable. I do not think the Government—I may be wrong—said that nobody should get more than three per cent. They did indicate in relation to State employees that a certain line would be taken in relation to anyone whose income was in excess of £1,200 a year.

The Minister also mentioned that he was arranging to have a survey carried out of those industries which have received State grants. We presume that the purpose of the survey is to ascertain whether the money given by way of grant has been properly spent with a view to expanding the economy and in the general interests of economic [1323] development. The Minister mentioned that there were some difficulties about having the survey carried out but that he is satisfied that it can be carried out and that it is being undertaken by the Industrial Development Authority.

I do not propose to criticise the Industrial Development Authority but is this not the body which to a great extent is responsible for the industrial grants being given? Does this Authority not recommend that the grants be given? If that is the case, would it then be the appropriate body to carry out an objective analysis and an objective survey? I agree that it is time such a survey was made because many people are not satisfied with the manner in which the moneys which were made available are being expended in all cases. It is difficult for the ordinary citizen or even a Deputy to make any judgement on a particular case because the information given is very meagre. From time to time, reports are made of the name of the company and the amount given. One can only judge from these reports that an industry has received so much, but whether that sum has been expended to the best advantage not alone of those who invested in the company but of the development of the country's economy as a whole is not made very clear.

The Minister lays emphasis on the question of adaptation by industries in the expectation of free trade. Is he satisfied that the best efforts have been made by industries in respect of which adaptation has been recommended as essential if they are to have any hope of maintaining their existence in changed circumstances? The experience in a number of industries for which adaptation councils have been established is that you come up against the problem of private enterprise. Even in industries that need overhaul, have you been able to get any degree of co-operation within the units composing those industries? We know there has been a certain amount of streamlining but it has usually taken the form of one unit of that industry taking over other units—a gobbling-up process. There has been very little co-operation between the various units of industry [1324] where there is evident need for adaptation.

One would be too much of an optimist to expect in this private enterprise economy a detailed exchange of information in regard to manufacturing processes and marketing operations, because each firm fears it will lose its own trade. Some of the smaller units have already been absorbed. In the case of an industry composed of eight or ten units, where there is a need for adaptation and re-equipment, while units of that industry may meet the adaptation council, it has to be admitted that in many cases they are not prepared to exchange with one another information that would be a value for the development of industry as a whole. This has been admitted on more than one occasion.

As I say, it might be too optimistic to expect people whose sole interest is the acquisition of profits for shareholders to take the risk of their little enterprise suffering as a result of exchanging information with other units engaged in the same industry. Yet many of those units are applying to An Foras Tionscal for assistance by way of grant and loan from public funds. They expect the community to put up large sums of money to help them. Yet they want to practise their own particular kind of restrictive practice. This is another example of what I mentioned earlier. The tradesman, the craftsman and other specialists in industry are lectured and told they have a vested interest, of which they must surrender a certain proportion. But nobody mentions the professional people. Those engaged in industry and commerce can continue to operate on the basis of their particular vested interest. There is a fairly simple reason for this. The one objective we still bow to in this country is the objective of making profit, not the objective of service to the community but the objective of making profit and paying a dividend to some shareholder. Therefore, this section of the community are not required in any real way to cease their restrictive practices but in fact may be encouraged to continue them.

[1325] I mentioned previously that there are problems of industrial relations. No matter how many lectures and courses are given, we will continue to have these problems if the people in industry are not treated responsibly and in a human and proper way by those who employ them. From time to time we have lectures given on the responsibilities of workers' organisations and of workers on the job. To what extent do those who employ workers recognise that workers have any other right than the right to be paid a week's wages for the performance of a particular task, or a right to sick pay or to a superannuation scheme after long years of work?

We are told that the workers should co-operate with industry, that unless workers co-operate in order to develop industry and make it efficient, there is a very gloomy future for our country. What real attention is given to the needs of the workers generally? There are thousands of workers leaving the land every year. Although this is not the Vote for the Department of Agriculture, these people come within the meaning of the term “workers” just the same as industrial workers or office workers. What concern have the Government shown for these people? What concern have they for some of their own employees? The Government need not hold up their heads as being model employers. They may be model employers in regard to the upper echelons of the Civil Service and may be model employers in regard to the upper echelons of the various State and semi-State bodies, but are they model employers as regards the lower-paid ranks?

The Minister for Industry and Commerce is the Minister concerned with the introduction of legislation on factory conditions. Has he taken any steps, since he became Minister, to ensure that the Factory Acts are operated fully? How many visits are made by his inspectors to the various factories? Even in this year of 1966, there are thousands of unsuitable premises that have been overlooked by the factory inspectors or have been visited with no real attempt to ensure [1326] that these premises were fit for human beings to work in.

Let the Minister send his factory inspectors round the city of Dublin— maybe he has not enough of them—and he will find hundreds of places where people are working in unsuitable conditions. Under the Factory Acts, proper light and heat are supposed to be provided for workers. Are these regulations being enforced? I am satisfied they are not, and these are matters for which the Minister is responsible.

Certain sections of workers in clerical and commercial employment enjoy longer holidays, sick pay and other benefits. Many other workers do not enjoy these benefits. Has the Minister for Industry and Commerce shown any initiative in saying that there should not be this differentiation?

In 1961, the then Minister for Industry and Commerce introduced a Holiday Bill after a Private Members' Bill had been moved from these benches, extending the statutory holidays to two weeks. Has the Minister thought about things like that? Do the Government realise there is such a difference in the general working hours of people who have to work manually? The agricultural labourer, of whom it is relevant to speak on this Estimate, has longer worker hours than anybody working in industry or employed in commercial work in fairly good conditions. Does the Minister think about these things? Or does he wait until industrial relations become exacerbated? Does he wait until the people themselves consciously, having a grievance, try to do something to remedy it? It is not a very impressive record for a Government who are going around over the past few weeks describing themselves as the only inheritors of those who made efforts to free our country. The Government have a direct responsibility to examine the existing situation. Industrial Relations Acts are for the purpose of protecting workers. They are not being enforced.

If the Minister looks through the Estimate for his own Department, I wonder will he find grades of people there who are not covered for sick pay. I wonder will he find juniors in his own Department who are paid [1327] miserable rates of wages. I wonder will he find people in his own Department or associated with his own Department whose conditions of employment, whose working hours, whose compensation for extra work and for other things, leave much to be desired. If the Minister and those associated with various bodies are going to lecture the workers as to whether they should look for three or five per cent or any percentage, surely they have an initial duty to look at their own house. They will not be proud of some of the things they will find. They will find in Departments a large number of people who are paid miserable rates of wages, people who are not paid for Sunday work, people who are not in receipt of sick pay.

There is an expression used, mainly across the water: “I'm all right, Jack” There are many people associated with the Government who subscribe to that approach to problems. When the Minister for Industry and Commerce can demonstrate that the Government have a concern initially for the people in their direct employment and also that they are concerned to ensure that Acts on the Statute Book for the protection of workers are enforced, then they may be able to say to the workers that they are doing their job, that they are carrying their responsibility and that perhaps the workers might then think of dealing with the matter from their point of view. The approach of the Government is the approach of too many employers in this day and age.

There are quite a number of industrial, agricultural and commercial units who are prepared to treat their workers on a reasonable basis, but, in 1966, after all the studies and after all the institutes that have been set up, there is quite a large percentage of employers whose sole concern with the workers is the extent to which they can exploit them and the extent to which the workers should keep their mouths shut. That attitude on the part of employers is not going to make any contribution to the development of the country.

As the education of the people develops, and it is slow as it is, people begin to think. Boys and girls going [1328] into industry begin to think that they were not born into this world to attend to machines and to say “Yes, sir” and “No, sir” to some petty tyrant. They are human beings and are entitled to be treated in a proper way. There have been industrial disputes today because of the fact that some of the people so much admired by this Government, the private enterprise people, have objected to providing proper sanitary facilities for their workers, separate and distinct sanitary conveniences for male and female employees. There have been occasions when people have had to take to the streets in order to insist on their ordinary right to work in some condition of human dignity.

There is a peculiar situation regarding too many of those whose lot it is to employ and not to be employed. There are too many who still think in the terms of the eighties, who still think in terms of avoiding their responsibilities to those whom they employ but who seek to place on the shoulders of the workers the blame for any ill-fortune that may be their lot in the field of commerce or industry. Industrial relations could be discussed here ad infinitum and there is no doubt that in recent months there has been more provocation of the workers in this country than for quite a long time. There has been less of the willingness to listen, to discuss and to accept legitimate and proper claims.

I am afraid that to some extent the Minister and the Government must accept responsibility for this attitude. They have convinced quite a large section of the employers that this is the attitude they want them to adopt. Perhaps they do not mean to do that but they have succeeded in doing it. The Minister, because of his official capacity, must take some responsibility in this matter. Surely in 1966, when the Government are repeatedly issuing appeals for improved productivity and for greater efficiency in all fields of industrial development, it is a dangerous, if not a suicidal, thing from a national and an economic point of view for those on the employment side to get the feeling that in resisting claims, in failing to negotiate in the normal [1329] way, they are carrying out the wishes of the Government. It is a suicidal thing for a Government or a Minister to permit this impression to get abroad.

There is no doubt that the impression is there and it has been caused to some extent by the Government's attitude. Not too many months ago, we were freezing in this House; we had oil-stoves in here because of the refusal of a Department of State to recognise the legitimate claims of a section of workers for something that had been conceded to other sections. Ministers and Deputies were endeavouring to carry on the business of the House and there was no heat. I am quite sure that Deputy Dillon and Deputy Larkin did not suggest that those people should be driven to take strike action in order to secure the miserable couple of coppers they eventually did secure, by a decision of this Government through one of its Ministers, the Minister for Finance.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Minister for Industry and Commerce has no responsibility for these matters.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  No responsibility for industrial relations? Then, who has, if he has not? That is what is wrong with this blooming Government: nobody has responsibility for anything.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I am glad we are blooming anyway.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Passing the buck up and down the Front Bench.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  I was dealing with industrial relations.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy was referring to a specific strike which is a matter for another Minister and another Department. We are dealing with Industry and Commerce.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  And these are industrial relations.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  Surely I am entitled to comment on the situation that exists in relation to industrial relations, if a strike takes place in private [1330] employment, as an example of bad industrial relations?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Hear, hear.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  And I am entitled to say to the Minister that I think he might be more helpful. I cited an example of the worst form of industrial relations and I draw the attention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce now to this bad example. If we have thousands of workers on strike in the ESB, workers on strike in the paper mills, workers on strike not so very long ago in the breweries, surely I am entitled to suggest to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that these strikes might have been avoided were the situation in industrial relations not poisoned by certain forms of pronouncements from time to time. Surely it is legitimate for me to draw to his attention, because it is a glaring example, the type of industrial relations which result in Deputies in this House having to carry on the business of this House without any heat because of a breakdown basically of industrial relations. I am sure the Minister has got the point. I shall not labour it further.

We are all concerned in this House and outside it with the development of the country's economy. If the Minister and his Government expect to get the co-operation of everybody in the community in that economic development, then I suggest they should have a look at the situation and examine their own performance, both in regard to omission and commission. They should seriously consider whether it is any advantage to the community as a whole to have a very important section of the community, those who control industry, etc., given the impression that they have a responsibility to mount the barricades and take issue on what they think is Government policy. I said at the beginning that to some extent what has happened in recent months has been reminiscent of the situation in 1941. In 1941 the Government imposed a standstill on wages. In recent months the Government have been making an indirect effort to arrive at the same result.

[1331] I do not propose to deal with the references made to the form of the machinery and the Minister's intention in the future with regard to the Labour Court and the industrial relations machinery. I presume we shall hear further about that when he comes to consult in a realistic way those who represent the workers and listens to their comments and takes and applies their advice in any matters referred to them for their consideration.

I would ask the Minister now to have a look at the situation in his own Department in the light of the Factory Act and consider whether the time has not come when he and other Ministers of State should cease making excuses for failing to extend to employees in the Government services the basic amenities of sick pay, superannuation, etc., which are enjoyed by colleagues in more secure employment in other sectors of the Civil Service and by those in the highest paid positions in the Civil Service. We should all subscribe, irrespective of political affiliations, to the efforts of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to secure some improvement in the living standards of the lowest paid workers and we should apply the same standards and conditions to those employed in Government Departments, including the Department for which the Minister is responsible.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Sir, I often wonder, when I am listening to some of the speakers on the Labour Benches, are they socialists or are they not. I often wonder, when I watch the activities of the distracted Ministers of the present Government, have they any intelligent approach at all to the situation in which this country is at present. I can understand a man who is a socialist and who believes that all methods of production should be under the control of the Government and that everybody in the country should be a servant of the Government. I believe, if we look around the world, that it is perfectly obvious that the societies with the lowest standards of living for the workers are the societies which operate on a socialistic basis. I have not visited Russia; I have not [1332] visited Poland; I have not visited China.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  Neither have I.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I have not visited the other countries behind the Iron Curtain. But we read a good deal about them and I read, with horror, of the exploitation of the working people in these countries. They work for whatever the Government think it right to pay them. Their standard of living in controlled by the prices the Government think it is appropriate to charge them from time to time for the essentials without which they cannot clothe and feed themselves and their families.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  We have a Socialist Government next door, have we not?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  We have, and we shall see the pattern now forthwith. Everybody in England, in effect, has been told where and how he may work.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  Sweden, Denmark—I could name a few more.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Yes, I am coming to them. I do not think they have true socialism in Sweden. I think it is a great capitalist society operated in the name of socialism. I am sure they have not a socialist society in Denmark. I often wonder what we are aiming to procure in this country. I am not a socialist because I believe it ends inevitably in a lowering of the standard of living of everybody belonging to that society. I have often said here and elsewhere that I suppose every young man is a socialist in his heart but every sane man is a capitalist in his head.

I am often puzzled, living, as I did all my life, in Ireland, in the society to which we belong, to see this strange perennial effort made to present a picture of two warring classes in this country. I believe we live in the most classless society in the world. I believe it is a wholly fictional and imaginary situation to suggest that there are now or that there are ever likely to be amongst our own people these two [1333] warring classes of employers and employed. I do not deny that, as you bring in foreign capital and the large foreign combines, you may begin to introduce into our society a new element of anonymity in labour relations which may create new problems. That very fact often makes me wonder when I see the whole retail trade of the country passing into the hands of large foreign combines, when I see one industry after another being taken over by foreign combines, what kind of society are we, in fact, building and what kind of society do we want to build in this country.

I often seriously apprehend that we shall fall between two stools and get the worst of both worlds. What do we want in Ireland? Do we want to turn this country into a kind of third-rate Birmingham? Is that what people want, is that the ideal towards which people are aiming, or do we want to preserve a different kind of society? Personally, I want the kind of society which this country has evolved for itself. But, if we are to retain it, let us face the fact that it means we shall not have as high a standard of living as is enjoyed in Great Britain, so long as she remains solvent, or in the United States. However, that is not because they are socialist countries.

The reason the United States of America has the highest standard of living of any country in the world is because it is a capitalist country. The reason the United States of America can afford the highest standard of social services provided by any country in the world for its people is because it is a capitalist country and they know how to make money and multiply wealth better than any community in the world.

It is one of the great dramas of our time from which socialists habitually turn their eyes away, that, after 45 years of socialism, with the greatest combination of natural resources the world has ever seen, stretching from the Polish frontier to Vladivostock, the people of Russia today would be dying of starvation if the largest capitalist countries in the world were not in the process of feeding them. We are all supposed to overlook that fact. Sometimes, [1334] when I hear the socialists talk about the heaven that awaits humanity if socialism were to become universal, I should like them to answer me that question. If Utopia is so readily accessible to any country that wants to adopt the socialist form of life, how is it that Russia, which has been the most extreme socialist country for the past 40 years, proclaims it now that her people must starve if the Canadians and Australians are not prepared to feed them? The answer, of course, is that socialism is grossly inefficient.

We have a good deal of socialism in this country. Would anyone tell me one single State-sponsored enterprise in this country at the present time that is making a profit? The ESB is paying its way, paying its interest, repaying its loans. But the ESB does not consult me as to what they will charge me for electricity. I pay them whatever they see fit to charge me. We could all make money on that basis. If one will give me a monopoly of any essential commodity, and give me the right to charge the public whatever I choose to charge, I shall certainly be able to make the interest on the capital.

CIE: the number of times I have been told from Fianna Fáil front benches that we were on the threshold of a glorious new expansion in which CIE would throw a flood of gold into the public coffers, if the public would only pay another £5 million, £10 million or £15 million into it, is legion. For the past 25 years I have heard that proclaimed in the Dáil and I have seen CIE sink deeper and deeper into the red while the facilities they provide shrink and shrink and shrink.

Bord na Móna are doing nicely, subject to the variations in the weather for which we cannot hold them responsible. Of course Bord na Móna finances are founded on the proposition that they determine what it costs them to save turf; they add to that a reasonable margin of profit and sell the turf to the ESB who then sell it to me in the form of electric power at a price which will remunerate the ESB and Bord na Móna. If anyone will give me a monopoly to produce a commodity the entire output of [1335] which I can sell to the ESB at whatever it costs me, plus the reasonable margin of profit, I will not only be able to pay the interest on the capital invested but show a profit as well. Is there any State enterprise operating in this country and making a profit? The Minister for Transport and Power has evolved a new definition of profit and loss accounts relative to the various activities for which he is responsible to this House. We now have what is called an operating surplus. It has become almost indecent to mention the word “profit”. “Operating surplus” is the term. He drops in here from time to time and tells up how the mighty application of his genius to the various enterprises for which he is responsible has resulted in an operating surplus and then he becomes quite distressed if one is crude enough to ask him what relation that has to profit or even to breaking even in the ordinary accepted sense of the term.

Fianna Fáil voices are raised in loud and indignant protest that this is an unreasonable and unpatriotic requisition to make in any public debate. But if nobody is going to make any profit in this country the country cannot long survive. We are all living out of people—the rapidly diminishing number of people—who consider they have an obligation to make a profit. The Government are living out of them; the whole nation is living out of them; but I sometimes feel on listening to Deputy Larkin that he looks on such people not only with contempt but almost with loathing. I think the word “profit” sounds in his ear as almost profane.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  It is not holy in the ears of some people.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I do not consider it holy but I believe profit to be a great instrument of human liberty and I believe its absence is the highway to servitude.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  It has caused great human degradation also.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  We have the means here in a free Parliament to correct [1336] that. There is no aggregation of capital in this country powerful enough to challenge the authority of Parliament except those aggregations of capital which have fallen into the hands of State-sponsored bodies and they are the only ones that can cock snooks at this House and tell us they will not be responsible to us or anybody else. That is a fact.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  That is the way you made the laws.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  That is the fact. It is also true that there is no money power in the State powerful enough to challenge the authority of Parliament. There is no fault of which capital can be guilty in this country which we are not in a position to control so long as there are people in the country who continue to make a profit but the day it becomes impossible in this country to make a profit, then look out. Consider what the ultimate fate will be, not of the wealthy—because they can transfer themselves and their property elsewhere in short order— but what will become of the people who have no place to go other than Ireland? That constitutes a very considerable body, to which I belong. Everything I have is in Ireland and I have nowhere to go out of it. The same is true of every man who has nothing to sell but his labour. In fact, the man who has his labour to sell is much more mobile than many of us who have concentrated all we own in this country.

Of course what will happen, if nobody makes a profit in this country is that more and more people will pull up their stakes and leave the country. That has happened and is happening at present but what this House is forgetting is that 95 per cent of the people who are going are the productive element of our society and they are leaving behind them the old and the children. Go to any railway station—where there is a railway station left—in the west of Ireland or in Monaghan, or Cavan or Donegal or Kerry or in Clare and does a day pass at any of them that there are not passengers going to England? I recently stood in the station at Boyle. [1337] County Roscommon, and the only passengers were myself and a boy of 18 going to Birmingham. I got into conversation with him and asked him why he was going to Birmingham and he said: “Because my brother is there.” I asked: “Who is at home?” and he said: “My father and my mother.” He had over 40 acres of land but was going to Birmingham. That is happening all over the country at present.

I am largely moved to intervene in this debate in memory of an old colleague, the late Deputy Bill Norton —the Lord have mercy on him. We hear a lot of talk here about industrial grants and encouragement for exporting industry but the first man to introduce inducements for export industries in this country was the late Deputy Norton. The first man to introduce industrial grants and exemption from income tax and corporation profits tax for increased exports was Deputy Sweetman when Deputy Norton was Minister for Industry and Commerce. I remember Deputy Norton when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce going to Germany and the USA trying to induce people to come here and set up factories and being derided and jeered at by members of the Fianna Fáil Party. It often astonishes me that, while members of the Labour Party speak on these matters now, they never call to mind the fact that it was their own leader who was largely responsible for the initiation of the campaign to establish the kind of industries that would keep our young people profitably employed in their own country.

Mark you, there was no use in his going to Germany or to America or anywhere else to invite people to engage in industry in Ireland if we were not prepared to concede that the making of profits was a legitimate and honourable objective of industrial enterprise. There is no use in our hoping that we can get any tolerable standard of living for those working in this country unless those who employ them make profits. God help the man or woman now working for a company that is not making a profit. This is a thing I want to draw Deputy Larkin's [1338] special attention to; the man or woman who is working for a company that is not making a profit is investing in that company assets that cannot be recovered.

I remember a company out in Blackrock that was driven out of business and I remember meeting the employees of that company, many of whom had been 20 and 30 years in its employment and they were informed one morning that their employer had gone bankrupt. The tragedy that struck me was that they had spent their lives, having entered into that firm as apprentices and boys, acquiring a skill and that skill was their capital. The day their employer went bankrupt, their capital was inevitably gone and gone in a way in which it was absolutely irrecoverable because the skill they had acquired was not usable in any other factory in this country.

All that is brought to mind when I read that a large industry in this country has carried out adaptation, which is the new word for monopoly in this country. It is astonishing, this detestable business of attaching new names to old sins. It is like calling adultery irregularity of conduct.

I was always reared to believe that the worst thing that could happen in a free society was that an essential commodity should become subject to monopoly in the hands of an irresponsible individual and the only thing that ever reconciles me to the nationalisation of anything is if an essential commodity falls into the hands of a monopoly, then I am prepared to nationalise it on the grounds that there is no other remedy. That is the only justification in my mind for the concept of nationalisation, as a second best— a second worst—to monopoly. But the modern word for that now is adaptation and we are paying them to become monopolists, praising them. If it is true that we are moving into an era of free trade, I suppose there can be some case made for it, if it is true that the monopolists are going to have to face competition in a free market.

But, with all the adaptation grants that we have provided, with all the inducements we have offered the public to improve their efficiency, I want [1339] to ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce this question: What does he propose to do about the situation revealed by the principal fertiliser company in this country which publishes the fact for all those who want to read that at a given period last year they made a profit of £400,000 and in the corresponding period this year they have lost more than £100,000? What are you going to do about it? I do not think the Minister for Industry and Commerce can avoid the duty of answering that categorical question when he is replying to this debate. Since that statement has been published, the Labour Court has recommended, and the Government have endorsed the proposition, that every person in the employment of that firm is to have his wages increased by £1 a week. That may be socially desirable but they are now losing at the rate of £100,000 in the stated period. On top of that, their costs will be further increased. Where do we go from there? Are you going to increase the cost of fertiliser?

You have the farmer sitting beyond at present with the Minister for Agriculture—the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association—saying that they must have 4d a gallon for the first 7,000 gallons and 2d a gallon for all above that quantity in order to maintain existing standards of living. You have the National Farmers Association waiting for an interview with the Minister for Agriculture to demonstrate that the present price levels for agricultural produce represent substantial serfdom for the farmers of this country. One of their essential raw materials is fertilisers and the whole fertiliser industry is now in the hands virtually of one firm and that firm's profits of £400,000 in a given period last year is converted into a loss of £100,000 in the corresponding period of this year. What are you going to do about it?

These are the kind of concrete questions that everybody washes his hands of and says: “What can we do about it?” I put it to the Minister for Industry and Commerce: you have to [1340] make up your mind. Are you going to allow private enterprise to operate at a profit or are you going to forbid profit and are you going to take the further step of requiring it to operate at a loss? I do not think you can. I think you can say if you want to: “I will take over the industry and subsidise it out of the Exchequer as I am doing with the shipbuilding industry and the transport industry and a variety of other industries”, but you cannot pretend that you intend to go on expecting that industry to operate at a loss. There are 500 men depending on that industry for their livelihood in this country.

Mr. Larkin: Information on Denis Larkin  Zoom on Denis Larkin  More than 500.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I am trying to keep the figures on a conservative basis. There are 500 men depending for their livelihood on that industry and I do not hear an explanation forthcoming from anybody as to how you are to resolve this problem. The Minister is a member of the Government. He is entitled to say: “I am prepared to face this question.” The real truth of it is, the situation we are in at present—and you cannot escape from it although you hate me to remind you of it—goes right back to the fatal day you took the decision to impose the turnover tax. I warned you then and I have warned you steadily in this House and in the country ever since that you launched us then on a spiral of inflation, the end of which God only knows.

To me, the horror of that is this: I see the whole enterprise of this country slithering into the hands of foreign owners. It is a most astonishing spectacle to watch the whole of this country being sold into foreign control. Detestable as that is to me, and it is detestable, I urge on this House to face the fact that it is not only our economic independence that is involved; our political independence will shortly be involved. The day this country ceases to be able to meet the liabilities of the very, very modest social services we are at present providing, the sovereignty of this country will come to an end.

[1341] I remember saying to this House long ago that the younger Deputies would live to see a Government hawking the credit of this country around the world and finding no takers. I saw Fianna Fáil Deputies hold up their hands in horror and I heard them saying that to say such a thing was blasphemy. They lived to see it and sooner than I thought they would have to see it. They lived to see us going with hat in hand looking for £7 million of a loan to the United States of America, to be sent home without sixpence.

[1342]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Will the Deputy move to report progress?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I move to report progress. I wanted to refer to the Widow Burke but I will tomorrow, please God.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 5th May, 1966.


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